If you’re not a Google-using fitness buff, you may not have heard of Google Fit. They don’t push it as part of the Android suite, unless you have a Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) smartwatch. It’s been needing a little TLC lately, and Google have dished up the goodies to create a whole new experience.

They say a picture’s worth 1000 words, so let’s start with one here. I’ll explain the image bit by bit:

Screenshot_2018-08-28 Introducing the new Google Fit

As you can see, Fit’s interface is dominated by two rings, turquoise (green) and blue. The blue ring represents your “Move Minutes” and the green your “Heart Points.” Fit uses a combination of AI and data from your phone’s sensors to determing whether or not you are moving, and if whatever you’re doing is intense enough to count as a “Heart Point.” Obviously this data will be far more accurate with a smartwatch, so make sure to pick up one of those if you are planning to get serious.

Move Minutes are pretty simple. Fit will constantly ask itself, “Is So-and-So moving?” If the answer is yes, Fit will time how long you’ve been moving for, and for every minute you move, you earn one “Move Minute.” To fill out the blue ring, you must rack up 100 Move Minutes. Google say that Move Minutes are to help you make the healthy  choice throughout your day, such as taking the stairs at work, or meeting friends over a walk instead of a coffee.

Heart Points are more complicated. If Fit’s original question “Is So-and-So moving?” is answered yes, it uses a presumably complex algorithim to answer the next question, “Is So-and-So exerting themselves enough to justify a Heart Point?” You can fill out the green circle on the outside by earning 20 Heart Points. Heart Points are supposed to be earned when you are conciously excersising, such as going for a run.

Of course, as with all AI (looking at you, Twitter), Heart Points aren’t perfect, especially without a smartwatch. To help them along, you can tell Fit when you are about to exercise. There are the normal ones, such as running and cycling, niche ones such as pilates and rowing, and even hobbyist ones, like gardening or spinning. Now you can fool your spouse into thinking you did use that gym membership!

Google are also offering integration with popular fitness apps, such as Strava and Seven. If you need that in your life, Google offer a Google Play collection of the apps that support Fit integration. But don’t worry, Fit has statistics too. The home screen will show you your stats for the past week, and clicking the Journal tab will give you more details stats, like average heart rate.

So this is Google Fit. A less customisable and shamelesly gameified version of Apple’s Activity and Workout apps, it nonetheless is a very complete package. It also doesn’t need a smartwatch to operate, perfect for the average person who just doesn’t want all that pizza to show on their belly. Google Fit is avalible on the App Store and Google Play.

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