News Feature | August 25, 2014

Google Releases Health App Development Kit

By Megan Williams, contributing writer

Google Health App Development Kit

Software developers in health and healthcare have some new toys coming their way.

Android developers have a new toolkit at their disposal, with Google’s June preview of their software developers’ kit (SDK) for its Fit fitness app platform. The SDK and its APIs were unveiled at their annual Google I/O Developers Conference, according to eWeek.

“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),” says Angana Ghosh, product manager for the Google Fit team. “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.”

The preview SDK comes with three APIs:

  • A Sensors API provides high-level access to sensors from the device and wearables.
  • A Recording API allows apps to register for battery-efficient, cloud-synced background collection of fitness data.
  • A History API allows operations on the data like read, insert, and delete.

Potential Uses

Some potential uses include updating runner of their heart rates every five seconds through a running app and the Sensors API (read more about sensors in healthcare here); storing the locations so the map can be run again later through the Recording API, and displaying all locations on a map with the History API.

Interested Users

Developers who are interested in previewing the SDK tools can download the updated version of Google Play services, which contains the Google Fit APIs for Android, in the Android L Developer Preview Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 system images.

Publishing

The developer preview will allow development and testing of apps now, but publication in Google Play will not be allowed until Google Fit’s official release (scheduled for this fall). Google+ also features a developers’ community (currently containing about 1000 members) that can be accessed here.

Partner companies include Adidas, Asus, HTC, Intel, LG, Mio, Motorola, Nike, Noom, and Runkeeper.

Expansion Into Health

Google is currently working on other advancements in health, including an unveiling in January that featured special contact lenses that are outfitted with miniaturized sensors that monitor the tears of diabetes patients to monitor blood sugar levels.

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