“Discovering fitness” will not bring Google closer to Apple Fitness + | Digital trends

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The headlines inform about possible improvements to the Google TV platform. This is exciting because Google TV is in itself an exciting, important platform.

Under the heading “What’s next for Google TV?” Janko Roettgers’ note pack puts the new director of product management for Google TV, Rob Caruso, on several issues. It begins with a description of the state of the platform – around 250 device partners worldwide and seven of the top 10 TV manufacturers make TVs with Google TV built-in. “If you really want some baseball, this is how every press interview starts with any platform – with numbers telling you how big and important the company you’re talking to is right now. It’s a good context, but …). “

Google TV’s Chromecast – that’s its remote here – could possibly see better fitness integration this year. But it still lags behind Apple. Phil Nickinson / digital trends

However, what really got the headlines was the fitness integration talk. “Fitness is another big area of ​​exploration,” Caruso told Roettgers. This is important for a number of reasons. The first is the Fitbit acquisition, so it makes sense that they are looking at Google TV with fitness in mind. Second, we all spend more time at home in front of our televisions, so now’s a good time to look at Google TV with your fitness in mind.

But that’s a long way from getting closer to some shipmentable product. And if there’s one thing Google likes, it’s best to emulate Lucy van Pelt. The products are soccer and we are all Charlie Brown. Look no further than the fact that this is the second incarnation of Google TV as a product.

Good for us (and not great for Google) is that there is already a high rating when it comes to fitness and TV integration. It’s from Apple, of course. The inevitable comparison serves as a pretty good starting point for what Google needs to do in order to actually get something in front of customers that they will actually use.

Some of them will be easy. Some don’t.

First, you need fitness

It’s not that hard to make a few fitness videos and upload them online; this kind of thing has been going on since the very first days of VHS. (Ask the grandparents, the kids.) This is a problem that can only be solved by throwing money at it.

And getting these fitness programs, for lack of a better timing, in front of Google TV customers is pretty easy – just put them in the best place on your home screen.

There are many online fitness classes available, and it’s relatively easy to view them on your TV, whether it’s natively or via something like Chromecast or AirPlay.

This can actually work to Google’s advantage. While Apple has its own skillfully crafted videos, Google might just stick to a third-party route and go from there.

Apple Watch has direct integration with Apple Fitness +. Google, not that much.

Apple Watch and Apple TV Fitness +.
Phil Nickinson / digital trends.

Then you need tracking

If you forgot to turn on your fitness tracker, were you actually exercising? We’ve all been there.

One of the coolest things about Apple Fitness + on Apple TV is that it has direct Apple Watch integration. It was a huge feature when it was announced, and it still remains great. It makes tracking your workout very easy, whether it’s Elementary (which I do the most often) or HIIT or something else.

Additionally, you can see your Apple Watch tracking on your screen during class. Heart rate, timer, calories. Is that necessary? Not quite. But it’s still very fun.

Throw in the fact that you can start and pause workouts from the watch without having to look for a remote control. You can call it a fully integrated experience – something Google has always struggled with.

It’s not something that can be easily duplicated, even with a Fitbit acquisition. APIs – the layers of software that allow one service to easily communicate with another – have come a long way. This allows Fitbit data to communicate directly with Google Fit, and Strava with Apple Fitness. But it only goes this far, and with Android Wear lagging so far behind Fitbit (which has trackers other than smartwatches, of course) and Apple Watch in terms of adoption, it’s a huge hill to climb.

The biggest obstacle to Google from improving its own services and products is usually the same.

And finally you need focus

The biggest problem with Google’s products and services has always been, well, Google. It has the means to make a top-notch TV platform, and I would say it has one on Google TV that, in many ways, was improved on Android TV before it. It is more durable and more powerful than the Roku. Perhaps busier than the rare Apple TV experience. It’s easy to compare to the Amazon Fire TV, especially now that it’s available in the inexpensive (but awkwardly named) Chromecast with Google TV.

But it’s also the same Google that has allowed its smartwatch segment to go to waste for years. (I was at the Google I / O conference when the first watches were announced.) The distributed strategy, with all hardware partners, just didn’t work and the Apple Watch took over that space. Will the long-known Pixel Watch fix it? Who knows.

Google Fit has also been something for years. But it’s an afterthought – a way to keep information in one place, but it’s not the goal you go to to practice. The Fitbit hijack may be the first step towards fixing it, but Google is taking many of the first steps. He “discovers” a lot. It’s a 10,000 step that will determine if it’s different this time – or it’s just another opportunity for Lucy to pull the ball out.

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