Google Fit update focuses on upping your heart rate with your phone or Wear OS watch

Google Fit is about to get its biggest update since it launched back in 2014, and the aim is to give you a free app that can help you improve your health easily through your phone or Wear OS watch.

The app has had a redesign to follow Google's Material Design style, and the way it records your daily health data has changed too.

Now it focuses on two areas which Google has decided on thanks to research conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Those are Move Minutes and Heart Points. Heart Points is the more important of the two, and this is designed to reward you for increasing your heart rate during exercise.

Many fitness apps focus on the duration or distance of your workouts, but this is set to put your heart rate above those stats.

Whole new stats

It means if you're out walking your dog and you pick up the pace to a moderate level, you’ll receive a score (what Google calls a Heart Point) for that rather than just a recording of your steps.

If you’re running, cycling, or anything more intense like HIIT workouts, you’ll then receive two points for every minute you've been exercising.

According to the AHA and WHO, 30 minutes of brisk walking five days a week will get you enough exercise to hit the recommendation for your weekly exercise. Google has built this platform for those who want to go over that recommendation too, as well as for absolute beginners.

The second element of the update is called Move Minutes, which will just record your active time. This is designed to monitor your walking throughout your day, and the intention is to motivate you to walk down the stairs or take other opportunities to raise your step count.

The Journal page that shows your latest activity.

The Journal page that shows your latest activity.

Both of these come together in the updated app to give you a clear idea of your daily, weekly and monthly exercise stats.

Exactly how accurate the data will be for your Move Minutes or Heart Points when you're just using your phone is currently unclear.

Google says the service will work best if you use it with a Wear OS watch as it will be able to record your heart rate easily from your wrist (assuming your watch has a heart rate monitor), but the update is also coming to Android phones, where it will use your phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope and more to monitor your activity.

If you use other services to record your exercise then Google Fit will bring that data in automatically once you’ve set it up. We’re still not sure on every app that will connect to it, but we know it works with Strava, Runkeeper, Endomondo and MyFitnessPal.

Once you've recorded a certain amount of information, the intention is Google Fit will start to give you tips on where you can fit exercise into your day or how you can increase your heart rate at certain points in your day.

One thing to note though, this isn't the Google Coach feature we've seen leaked recently. That idea sees integration with Google Maps to give you recommendations on where you can eat healthy food and more, but it seems that was either false information or we may have to wait longer to hear about those new features.

You'll find the Google Fit update comes to your Android phone or Wear OS watch (it still works for those using an iPhone with a Google smartwatch) in the coming week or so.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.