Google Releases Fit Preview SDK for Its Fitness App Platform

Apps developers can now start to experiment and build fitness apps for Android using the preview SDK and its APIs, tools and other features.

Google Fit preview SDK

Google has launched a preview Software Developers Kit (SDK) for its Fit fitness app platform, which it unveiled back in June at its annual Google I/O Developers Conference. The Fit platform is now available to developers to use to build fitness apps for Google's Android platform.

The new preview SDK for Fit was announced by Angana Ghosh, product manager for the Google Fit team, in an Aug. 7 post on the Google Developers Blog.

"Google Fit provides a single set of APIs for apps and device manufacturers to store and access activity data from fitness apps and sensors on Android and other devices (like wearables, heart rate monitors or connected scales)," wrote Ghosh. "This means that with the user's permission, you can get access to the user's fitness history—enabling you to provide more interesting features in your app like personalized coaching, better insights, fitness recommendations and more."

Three APIs are included in the preview SDK, including a Sensors API that provides high-level access to sensors from the device and wearables; a Recording API that allows apps to register for battery-efficient, cloud-synced background collection of fitness data; and a History API that allows operations on the data like read, insert and delete, wrote Ghosh.

The Sensors API can be used by a developer for a running app so that it could be registered to receive updates from a connected heart rate monitor every 5 seconds during a user's run, while giving immediate feedback to the runner on the display, she wrote. The Recording API could be used in a running app to store a user's location so it can map the run later, while the History API could allow a developer to build an app that then shows all of those locations on a map.

"The preview SDK gives you the tools to start building your app," she wrote. "You'll be able to launch your app later this year when we launch the full Google Fit SDK as part of Google Play services for handsets, Android Wear and also for the Web."

Developers who want to try the new preview SDK tools can download the updated version of Google Play services containing the Google Fit APIs for Android in the Android L Developer Preview Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 system images, according to Ghosh. "Use the Android SDK Manager to download the Google Play services client labeled 'Google Play services for Fit Preview.' You can start developing today using local fitness history on the device—the cloud backend will be available soon."

The Google Fit Developer Preview will let developers develop and test their fitness apps now, but they won't be able to publish them on Google Play until Google Fit is officially released, according to Google. In addition, the preview SDK contains the Google Fit APIs for Android, but it does not contain the REST API or the Android Wear APIs, which will be included in the official release.

Interested developers are also invited to join the Google Fit developer community on Google+ to discuss the Preview and ask questions, she wrote. Additional resources and more information about Google Fit are also available on the Google Fit developers site.

The completed SDK is expected to be released this fall, according to Google.

Google partner companies for the upcoming Fit platform include Adidas, Asus, HTC, Intel, LG, Mio, Motorola, Nike, Noom and RunKeeper.

The Google Fit health data tracking service was among the biggest announcements at Google I/O as part of the company's recent push into high-tech wearables. Fit will use open APIs to allow user health data to interact with popular fitness trackers and health-related apps.

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.

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.