Here’s how Android will protect your health data when it launches Google’s Pixel Watch

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Samsung and Google have teamed up to create this API just for you

The Pixel Watch, just announced at Google I/O, and Fitbit account integration usher in a new era of health tracking for Wear OS. And with it comes the new Health Connect API that will help manage permissions for Android devices when it comes to sharing data from wearables and other accessories.

Health Connect, which was created in collaboration with Samsung, will manage apps’ ability to write and access user data on activity, body measurements, nutrition, sleep, and vital functions and cycles. All of this data can be retrieved via user-reported information or sensor inputs.

With such a large payload – so large, Health Connect data will be classified as Personal and Sensitive User Data under Google Play’s User Data Policy – comes with a load of responsibilities and this comes in the form of a new permissions policy that takes effect from October 3 It’s a long time to go, but here’s what third parties who want your health data need:

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  • The service should request in-app permissions for specific data and say how it will be used.
  • Services only need to request permissions for the data they need.
  • User data should not be read by other humans or sent to brokers, advertising platforms, etc.
  • There are limited acceptable cases for data transfer, such as for legal compliance, security, or if user consent has been obtained.

For app developers, the API is a unique library available today for your conformance testing pleasure on the brand new beta version of Jetpack Compose for Wear OS. On the other side, users will be able to share their data via Health Connect with their Fitbit, Google Fit and Samsung Health accounts, at least to start with. Other applications, without name, will follow by adapting the new API.

More importantly for us consumers, however, this October 3 date may be a big clue as to when we can buy the new Pixel Watch along with all the other “fall launch” devices that the Made by team Google has prepared for us. We can’t wait.


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