I love health tracking devices and doing self-experiments, but keeping track of all the data can be a real hassle, especially since my digital life is split between an iPhone, operated by an Apple operating system, and my files on Google Drive (Disclosure: I am a contractor for the tech policy think tank, Tech4America). Up until now, if I wanted to analyze data collected by my iPhone, it was difficult to export it to Google Sheets. So, I was happy to see that Google recently launched its health tracking app, Google Fit, for the iPhone.
For someone like me, there are few differences between Apple’s Health app and Google Fit. Both show me a daily snapshot of my activity and aggregate data from various devices. Right now, I’m collecting heart rate data via the respiratory device, the Spire Tag, some meditation sessions via the headband Muse and the meditation app, Still. I also weigh myself with a Withings Scale. Keeping all of these in one place can be a hassle
While similar, Google Fit does have a few advantages, which is why I’ll keep both of them on my iPhone.
Unlike Apple, which only displays the data of a single day on the home screen, Google Fit shows me trend data on the home screen.
I also like some of Google’s export features better than Apple’s. Google permits users to export daily summary data in an easy-to-use CSV format, so I just upload my data to Google Sheets. I do wish Google wouldn’t export CSV’s by day, because then I have to use a separate tool to batch combine them to see time series trends.
But, regardless of the inconvenience, it’s nice to not be locked into any one company or operating system. For the past few months, I’ve been playing around with the Google Pixel smartphone. There’s a lot to like about the Android operating system, and while I haven’t made up my mind just yet, should I choose to switch phones, having Google Fit on my phone will make it much easier migrate.
The state of health tracking and aggregation is still in it’s infancy. I have to do a lot of manual work if I want to analyze my data, as I haven’t found any good apps to do this analysis yet. For now, I like the idea of keeping my data in multiple places.