Now there’s news that Google is improving upon their fitness tracking app.
Called Google Coach, this app is supposed to be a vast improvement over their Google Fit. Given Google Fit didn’t do so well, there’s a lot of room above that bar.
It’s also another sign that Google is continuing to compete against Apple. The Apple Watch, Apples wearable timepiece/mini-iPhone/digital assistant, has already launched. As with most Apple products, it’s gaining in popularity.
There’s even a special Nike+ edition. I’m not sure what makes it so special as you still need to download the Nike+ app to enjoy the benefit.
But Google’s keeping pace. They’re set to roll out this new app to go with their wearable watch. It’ll integrate into their Wear OS and be able to provide a bevy of perks.
What You’ll Get
The Google Coach app is the typical fitness app.
You’ll get to plug in your vital stats and it’ll track your heart rate and calories throughout the day. Google will also draw on other data from your footprint in Google to round out the data.
While I’m sure this will be helpful, I’m sure it won’t be that easy. There will still be that initial set up where you punch in a bunch of information and answer questions.
It will also come with notifications. To keep from being annoying, developers have mentioned the notifications will be “conversational.” Meaning they’ll be batched together and delivered only a few times during the day.
There’ll also be suggestions. Suggestions on workouts, what to do in case you miss a workout, and meals. The suggestions will also be rolled into the batched notifications.
While this sounds all well and good, Google could learn from the mistakes of others.
These improvements, though helpful, are not without their drawbacks.
Here’s four of them.
Wearable technology is a growing field these days. Since smartphones are loaded with ample storage and apps to “enhance” everything, technology companies are looking for the next gadget to pioneer.
Enter the smartwatch.
While cellphones did need a boost in intelligence, watches were already pretty smart. In fact, analog watches require more deductive reasoning to tell the time. This may sound like too much work, but studies have shown analog dials increase cognitive ability.
Given technology is getting smaller and smaller, and faster and faster, it made sense to start packing technology onto your wrist.
You always have a helpful friend with you.
Though small, these smartwatches can help track your health. Instead of leaving it to chance, you’re able to see your daily activity and adjust accordingly.
There’s something always watching you.
These watches will track you all the time. On days when you’re sick, or just don’t feel that active, they’ll track that. Then they’ll remind you about it later.
I’m all for healthy living. Part of that means taking a day to rest. And sometimes you need a mental break as well. For me, that means vegging out in front of the TV.
These little dings, bleeps, and warbles are there to remind us when something comes in. It’s no different from a co-worker who walks up to let you know the meetings about to start. Or your kids reminding you they’re hungry.
The little dings keep us from forgetting important things.
Maybe not every sound. But I count on my smartphone—and by extension, my smartwatch—to keep me up to date. I’m constantly setting reminders for myself. I’ve learned through plenty of errors that my own memory is not the most reliable.
You get harassed.
A fitness app may mean well, but when it goes off at the end of a long day, it’s not helpful. That is the worst time to remind me “to reach your exercise goals.”
Do we need another app to do that?
There are notifications, which remind you to do something. Then there’s suggestions, helpful hints to accomplish a goal. These aren’t ironclad directions. But they could help.
Figuring it all out on your own is hard.
Every time I’ve decided to start a work out regimen, there’s always the question “what am I going to do?” Then follows “how often?” And “what time?”
Suggestions help to figure out the right steps to take. I don’t have to research as much then. Which saves me time.
They can be condescending.
Yesterday I ran four miles. I was proud of myself.
I reached my exercise goal and then some.
This morning I get a “suggestion” that I should work out because I was doing so well yesterday.
That was yesterday. Today I’m tired from the workout and need a break. I don’t need a condescending “suggestion” to go work out.
Google Coach will undoubtedly work with other apps and features of a smartwatch. Google’s apps do a decent to good job of that across multiple platforms.
When it comes to a workout, all that technology can make it more difficult. I’ve noticed that cutting down on all the stuff I carry makes my workouts more enjoyable. I’m carrying less weight and it’s an excuse to get away from technology for a while.
I keep my iPod mini and my smartwatch and that’s it.
It’s nice…when it works.
When it doesn’t work it is beyond frustrating.
Most of the time the apps work the way they’re supposed to. But when they don’t work, they do so at the worst time. The other day I was just about to start running. I opened the appropriate app and pushed start.
I pushed again.
It still ignored me.
I’m all dressed up for a workout and I’m wearing the stupid watch too. If I’m going to take it with me, it’s going to do its job. Or else I’m just carrying dead weight.
Thanks to my frustration I ran a little harder that day and put up my best time in recent months. But running angry isn’t a good way to train for a half-marathon.
If the app is supposed to streamline functionality, then it should streamline functionality. Any glitches or bugs need to be resolved quickly or else the smartwatch, along with the app, is useless for what it’s meant to do.
Getting in Shape
Ever since getting a smartwatch, I have noticed I’m more inclined to go for a run.
While running I’m constantly checking my progress. This may not be the best use of it, but it distracts me. If run without it, I’m more likely to let the monotony of running get to me. This isn’t a theory, I’ve experienced it.
Hence, why I’m okay with a smartwatch on my wrist and why I’m okay constantly checking it.
The running is to clear my head for work. The watch is to distract me from the monotony of running. And my burning legs.
When I get home, I ice my knees. During that time I pull out my phone and check my progress on my app. If it’s been working then it’ll be a pleasant experience. If not, I’ll grumble through trying to fix it.
With a high-speed connection, I’m able to get through this process quickly. Make sure you have a good high-speed connection as well. Check out the best internet deals, and take one more worry off your plate.
As for Google Coach, you’ll have to wait for the fall for it to roll out. But if they’ve learned from Apple, then it’ll be a better product to use. Only time will tell.
Until then, are you training for something? What’s the best app to use for your workouts?