Watch out Fitbit, Google Now is on your heels

The Fitbit activity tracking device has new competition in the form of Google Now, an intelligent personal assistant for Android phones that recently received an upgrade enabling it to track when a person walks or cycles, according to an article in MIT Technology Review.

Among Google Now's new activity tracking features is a once-a-month notification that creates a summary of a person's activities to provide them with a tally of their monthly exercise. Google's once-a-month summary, however, isn't as rich as the interactive records that Fitbit can provide, according to the article.

A compelling potential feature of Google Now is the app's ability to leverage user data that enables "life-logging" capabilities to assist people in better understanding what they have been doing and what events and activities shape their lives. Interestingly, the article points out, Google's official blog post announcing other Google Now upgrades was mum about the new activity tracking feature.

The activity tracking market was becoming crowded even before Google Now added an activity tracking feature, with a growing field of competitors, including Amiigo, Fitbit, FuelBand, LarkLife, and UP, among others. Shine, from San Francisco-based startup Misfit Wearables, recently targeted the fitness app market with a device which clips on to clothing, and is roughly the size of a quarter; weighs less than 10 grams.

Shine's proprietary sensor algorithms are what track a person's movements during walking, jogging, and running, as well as cycling, swimming, and other physical activities. Likewise, Google Now is able to tell the difference between walking and cycling, which Fitbit and other devices are not able to discern.

To learn more:
- read the Technology Review article