Google Fit SDK now available for developers to build apps

8 Aug 2014

The forthcoming Motorola 360 smartwatch, which will include Google Fit apps

Google has released a preview SDK for Google Fit that contains a single set of APIs for app developers and device makers to create products, such as wearable computers, and to use with smartphones.

Google Fit had been introduced during the Google I/O developers conference in June. This open platform for keeping all your fitness data in one place will be built into Android L, maintaining the platform’s competitiveness with iOS 8 and HealthKit.

A number of key partners have already signed up, including Nike, Adidas and RunKeeper.

“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 (such as wearables, heart-rate monitors or connected scales),” explained Angana Ghosh, product manager for Google Fit.

“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, such as personalised coaching, better insights, fitness recommendations and more.”

Three sets of APIs

There are three sets of APIs aimed at developers, such as a Sensors API. This provides high-level access to sensors on an Android device or wearable to receive updates from a connected heart-rate monitor every five seconds to give feedback to a runner on the display.

There is a Recording API that allows apps to register for a battery-efficient, cloud-synced background collection of fitness data. For example, a running app could ask to store a user’s location so it can map the run later.

And there is a History API that allows operations on the data, such as read, insert and delete. When the exerciser finishes his or her run, the running app can query the History API for all locations during the run and show a map.

Google said developers start developing apps today. They will need to 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 and use the Android SDK Manager to download the Google Play services client labelled ‘Google Play services for Fit Preview’.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years