The complete guide to Google Fit

Everything you need to know about Google's new health platform.

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Google's health platform, which first debuted on Android Wear watches earlier this year, is now available on the Web and for Android devices running version 4.0 or higher. Here you will find everything you need to know about the new Google Fit app.

What is it?

Google Fit is Google's answer to Apple's Health app. It uses the sensors built into your device to automatically track activities like walking, biking and running. You can also use it to keep track of your fitness goals and weight-loss progress over the past day, week and month. The Google Fit app is available as a free download in the Play store. It also comes preloaded on Android Wear watches and can be accessed from Google's website.

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Get started

It's quite simple to set things up. After you have downloaded the app on your mobile device, you must agree to Google's Terms of Service, hit Next and grant Google access to activity information and location history. The location data lets you see your progress throughout the day and the location of where you exercised. For example, mine tells me that I took 2,598 steps around 8:48 am while walking in New York.

To set it up on the Web, go to the Google Fit website, select your Google account and agree to the company's Terms of Use.

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Set goals

Google's default goal is set at one hour of activity each day, but that may be too much or too little depending on your fitness level. This can be customized by clicking on the Menu button (it's that icon with three vertical dots in the top right corner of the screen), selecting Settings and tapping Daily Goals. Here you can change your daily activity and daily steps goal. Doctors recommend adults walk at least 10,000 steps per day.

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Make it personal

Now that you have set up your account and changed your daily goals, it's time to make things a little more personal. Once again, click the Menu button and select Settings. Scroll down and you will see an area to enter your height and weight; if you continue scrolling you will find options to switch between different measurement units. There is also an option in the Menu button for you to add your daily weight. This can be used to track your daily, weekly or monthly weight loss.

The Google Fit app will periodically send you reminders and goal updates. Not interested in these reminders? There is an option in the settings menu to disable both notifications and sounds.

Add an activity

Not everyone enjoys exercising with their phone. If that's the case, click the Menu button and select Add Activity to add workouts you have done without your phone. From here you can choose between walking, running, biking or other activities, and add the amount of time you exercised for. Google will add the active time to your profile, and for activities like walking and running it will estimate the amount of steps you took.

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View your data

Data can be viewed from the past day, week and month on both the Google Fit app and website. On the main page in the mobile app, scroll to the bottom and tap the "See graph details" option. The top-left pull-down menu lets you switch between the day, week or month, while the top-right pull-down lets you toggle between active time and steps. Below the main chart you will the option to add a secondary chart for weight and heart rate.

Charts can be viewed on the Google Fit website by clicking on the circle that displays your active minutes and steps.

Connect third-party apps

Fitness devices and apps from Strava, Withings, Runtastic, Runkeeper and Noom Coach can connect with Google Fit to show all of your data in one place. At this time, Google's partner apps have not yet updated to enable Google Fit integration, although the feature is said to be "coming soon."

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Delete your data

Not enjoying Google Fit? Maybe you're not comfortable with Google having all of this data. Click the Menu button, select Settings, and tap Delete History. While this will delete all of your Google Fit data, it may also prevent some of your connected apps from working properly.

Last updated on Thursday, October 30 at 9:15 a.m. PT: An earlier version of this article said that installing Google Fit on your Android device would wipe the fitness data from your Android Wear smartwatch. A Google spokesperson has confirmed that this is not the case. Google Fit on Android Wear will sync with the data from your phone within 30 hours, although the company is working to improve this.

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