Google Fit gets better at counting calories and distance traveled

After debuting nearly a year ago, Google Fit hasn't seen many improvements. Now, as health tracking becomes more mainstream, Google is making it better.

Health-conscious Android phone owners will be happy to hear that Google Fit just got a little more effective. The updated version of Google Fit will now calculate your distance traveled and calories burned, based on gender, height and weight information.

Google says the improved software also includes a better historical view of your exercise data:

"As you scroll down your timeline you'll be able to look at your activities grouped by days, weeks or months and get a sense of how your activities impact your fitness over time."

This a much needed improvement as I've generally been disappointed by how Google Fit has worked since it debuted last summer. It's been difficult to get trend data from the app up to now and has lacked the caloric estimates as well; often needed to manage or maintain weight goals.

The new version of Google Fitalso has a home screen widget for basic information at a glance. That sounds like it would be handy on a watch and sure enough, there's a new Android Wear watchface that includes the same widget.

I'm somewhat surprised that Google Fit hasn't gotten better sooner than this.At least year's Google I/O developer event, the company devoted a fair amount of time during the main keynote to showcase the Google Fit platform.

I had high hopes for it as Google entered health-focused area but little happened with it since then. Google Fit, for example, was going to be supported by devices and services from Nike, Adidas, RunKeeper and others but one year later, you really wouldn't know that.

I'm sure it's no coincidence that Google Fit is back on the radar though, now that Apple is pushing both HealthKit and ResearchKit heavily, along with the fitness aspects of the Apple Watch.

Regardless of the platform you prefer, it's good to see smarter use of hardware and software to improve our overall healthiness. I'll be updating Google Fit on my Moto X and take the new app for a run with Sony Smartwatch 3 to see how it works.