Google takes aim at Apple's HealthKit with new fitness service

The search giant's Google Fit service will work with Adidas, Nike, RunKeeper, and others.

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Google sees an opportunity with fitness and, like Apple before it, the company is building a service to help the growing list of wearable devices talk to one another.

Dubbed Google Fit, Google said its new platform will help users keep track of their fitness goals across various platforms and wearables.

"Fit takes away the complexity of handling multiple sources," said Ellie Powers, product manager at Google Play. She said the new service, with consent, will give developers access to a big stream of information about a user's health details. "This helps you create more comprehensive apps."

The service follows in the footsteps of HealthKit, a service from Apple that basically attempts to do the same thing. During that product's unveiling earlier this month, Apple said it designed its service to track all manner of information, from fitness goals to health details.

"We think this is going to be really important for health care," Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering at Apple, said at the time.

Health has become a focus of the technology industry, with a myriad of fitness-related gadgets hitting the market. Samsung sells the Gear Fit, and Jawbone has its Up brand of activity trackers. Other companies produce heart rate monitors, wireless blood pressure sensors, and even scales, all designed to integrate with mobile phones and the services they connect to.

Google said it designed its service to be a central repository for apps, allowing them to share information. For example, Google said, Nike's Fuel platform will send data to Google Fit, giving app developers access to all the information from that service. Google said it's also working with Adidas, RunKeeper, and other companies.

A prerelease version of Google's service is expected to be available in a few weeks.

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