Google partners with Samsung for cross-app health tracking

The new Health Connect API will allow fitness data to be stored locally on your device and accessed by different apps and services.

Google and Samsung are partnering up to take on health tracking on Android. During I/O 2022, the companies announced a new API called Health Connect that will store users’ fitness data securely on their devices and allow apps to access it, giving you much more freedom over which fitness apps you’d like to use.

According to Samsung’s press release, Health Connect will support over 50 different data types like sleep, exercise, heart rate, and blood pressure. If you opt in to use Health Connect, Google says any data that’s recorded will be securely kept locally on your device. You’ll be able to shut off all access to it for privacy reasons, as well as completely wipe it if you wish. Granular controls will also allow you to give apps certain access to different types of data.

Here’s how Google describes its functionality.

Health Connect supports many common health and fitness data types and categories, including: activity, sleep, nutrition, body measurements and vitals like heart rate and blood pressure.

With user permission, developers can securely read from and write data to Health Connect, using standardized schema and API behavior. Users will have full control over their privacy settings, with granular controls to see which apps are requesting access to data at any given time. The data in Health Connect is all on-device and encrypted. Users will have the ability to shut off access or delete data they don’t want on their device, and the option to prioritize one data source over another when using multiple apps.

It’s likely that the first two apps to take advantage of Health Connect will be Google Fit and Samsung Health. However, Google says it’s also working with third parties like Withings and Leap Fitness to integrate the feature into their respective apps. The API will also be coming to Google’s own Fitbit products.

Wear OS’ wide library of health tracking applications means that you have to decide which app you want to pour all of your data into, and you’re never guaranteed an easy way out if you want to move to something else. Health Connect is essentially that missing guarantee since all of your data will live on your phone or watch instead of your account for a fitness app.

Health Connect is expected to start rolling out later this year, which likely means it’ll be ready by the time the new Pixel Watch comes out.