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Google Is Working on a Digital Fitness Coach Now, Too

Evan Niu, CFA, The Motley Fool

Wearable devices and fitness go hand in hand, as the product category has become inseparable from health-related use cases. Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and Fitbit (NYSE: FIT) have both emerged as clear leaders in the growing wearables category, thanks in large part to including a expanding suite of health and fitness features.

Apple added a slew of personalized coaching functions to watchOS 4, and plans to build on that foundation with watchOS 5. Fitbit launched Fitbit Coach last year, a $40-per-year subscription personalized service that provides adaptive video workouts and audio-based coaching. Wear OS (previously Android Wear) may be on the decline, but Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) subsidiary Google isn't giving up quite yet.

Five Wear OS devices

Image source: Google.

Using all that user data

Android Police reports that Google is working on a health and fitness coach aptly named "Google Coach." The initiative is internally code-named Project Wooden, and seeks to utilize the copious amounts of user data that Google collects in order to provide actionable health recommendations, such as workout routines or ways to adjust dietary behaviors to improve nutrition.

Google Coach's algorithms will also be able to access location and calendar data to fine-tune its recommendations, according to the report. The digital trainer will try to mitigate notification spam by grouping alerts in conversational topics. While the initial launch is intended for Wear OS, Google may look to subsequently bring Google Coach to Android phones and other Google platforms.

It goes without saying that the report should be taken with a grain of salt, like all product rumors. Google could very well decide to change various functions or the service's name before release.

Google Coach has more potential on Android phones than Wear OS devices

Wear OS' significance in the wearables market continues to fade, but Google can't really ignore the wearables market, so it needs to push forward with developing a personalized fitness coach in an effort to remain relevant. It's rather telling that Samsung, the most prominent Android OEM, decided to use its own Tizen operating system for the Galaxy Watch announced earlier this month, after numerous commercial flops trying to use Wear OS in its Galaxy Gear line.

Developing Google Coach for Wear OS might be a dead end, since Wear OS has such a small presence in the wearables market. But as modern consumers demand deeper integrations between wearables and mobile devices over time, having a digital fitness coach available on your phone will become table stakes for all companies looking to remain competitive.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Evan Niu, CFA owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Apple, and Fitbit. The Motley Fool has the following options: long January 2020 $150 calls on Apple and short January 2020 $155 calls on Apple. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.