Google Reportedly Unveiling Health Data Tracking Service at I/O Conference

The new "Google Fit" health data tracking service will compete with Apple's recently announced HealthKit data collection services, according to a report.

Google health data tracking

Google will debut its plans for a new health data tracking service called "Google Fit" at the upcoming Google I/O developers conference as part of its recent push into high-tech wearables.

The rumored Google Fit strategy, which was first reported by Forbes earlier this month, calls for Google to "aggregate data through open APIs, instruction sets that allow apps to share information, and will also announce partnerships with wearable device makers at its I/O conference," according to the article.

The new service will "collect and aggregate data from popular fitness trackers and health-related apps, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the company's plans," and will be launched at the June 25-26 Google I/O conference in San Francisco, the story reported.

"One source with knowledge of Google's plans said Google Fit would allow a wearable device that measures data like steps or heart rate to interface with Google's cloud-based services, and become part of the Google Fit ecosystem," according to the Forbes report.

Nothing about the Fit service is mentioned on the Google I/O conference schedule at this time, but that's certainly not unusual since major announcements at the conference are typically hush-hush each year. The Google I/O developer conference is arguably the most important and hotly awaited Google developer event of the spring.

In 2012, Google I/O was the stuff of legend, featuring the introduction of Google Glass, with an amazing live-video stunt with parachutists from an airship wearing Google Glass headsets landing on the Moscone West rooftop and rappelling, bicycling and running into the conference to the cheers of thousands in order to give the wearable computers to Google co-founder Sergey Brin—who was already wearing one himself.

Google did not respond to an email request from eWEEK for comments about the rumored Fit initiative.

Google has been working for several years to become more involved in the health marketplace. In September 2013, Google launched a new health care company, called Calico, with a goal of finding ways to improve the health and extend the lives of human beings. The startup is focusing on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases, according to Google.

Back in 2008, Google launched its Google Health initiative, which aimed to help patients access their personal health records no matter where they were, from any computing device, through a secure portal hosted by Google and its partners, according to eWEEK reports at the time. Google Health shut down in January 2013.

Apple's HealthKit announcement came at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this month, as a system that can collect information from various sources—such as a user's Fitbit account, a Nike running app and a blood-pressure reader—and present it together as a single, more complete health profile, according to an eWEEK report. Even more intriguing for HealthKit, it can also communicate with third-party apps, such as the Mayo Clinic app.

Google has also been working recently on other device-related health projects, such as experiments unveiled in January with special contact lenses that are equipped with miniaturized sensors that can analyze the tears in the eyes of diabetes patients to determine when their blood sugar levels need to be adjusted.

The theme for this year's Google I/O 2014 developer conference is all about helping developers "design, develop and distribute" their applications and innovations using Google tools and resources, according to an earlier eWEEK report.