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Google Fit adds new tools to entice you to exercise

The search giant introduces "Move Minutes" and "Heart Points," which keep track of little things you do to stay active.

Google Fit screens showing Heart Points and Move Minutes features.

Google Fit now includes features called Heart Points and Move Minutes. 

Google

Google says it wants to help you keep active.

The search giant on Tuesday announced new features for Google Fit -- its platform for helping people set fitness goals and track their exercise -- designed to encourage you to do little things throughout the day to burn calories.

The features are called "Move Minutes" and "Heart Points." Move Minutes is aimed at getting you to add little exercises to your routine, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It's different from features that just count your steps, because it takes into account other types of movement, like yoga. The app lets you set goals for Move Minutes -- like, say 100 per day -- then keeps track of your progress.

Heart Points try to encourage you to get your heart pumping. So, if you pick up the pace during a walk, you'll earn a point for every minute of brisk activity. Or if you do more intense workouts like playing basketball or kickboxing, you'll earn double points. Google says it worked with the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization to develop the new features.

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The Google Fit app is available on Android phones and smartwatches that run Google's Wear OS software. (If you've got an Android smartwatch but pair it with an iPhone, you'll also be able to track Move Minutes and Heart Points through the Wear OS app for iPhones.) The new features use the sensors in your phone or watch to detect your different types of movement.  

The new Google Fit tools are meant to improve your health, but they're also a reminder of all the data the search giant can collect on you. Google drew criticism last week after a report by the Associated Press said the company still tracks your physical location even if you turn off the Location History setting for Google apps. A few days later, the search giant changed its explanation of the setting on its help page to better clarify how Google tracks you.

Google says Move Minutes and Heart Points will be available this week.

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