Alphabet could be looking to seriously step up its fitness tracking game — no pun intended. According to a report from CNBC, Verily, Alphabet’s “life sciences” organization, is looking for partners to develop shoes that can track fitness by including things like the wearer’s movement and their weight.
According to the report, Verily has been showing off prototypes of the design to potential partners in an attempt to attract companies who might be willing to work with it.
It makes sense that Alphabet would be looking to improve its fitness tracking; Apple has largely lead the world of fitness tracking since the launch of the Apple Watch. While the likes of Fitbit still have influence, Google’s Wear OS is only now improving its fitness tracking features and still isn’t really thought of as a leader in the space. If the company were to release something like fitness-tracking shoes, it could differentiate itself from its competitors.
The resulting product could have pretty significant health implications, too. As CNBC notes, sudden weight gain could be an indicator that the body is retaining too much fluid — which itself is a symptom of congestive heart failure. The product will also likely have fall detection. That’s also a feature that Apple has been working on — the latest Apple Watch can detect if you’ve had a fall, and while it’s only on by default for those aged 65 or older, younger users can switch it on.
Verily, a sister company of Google, is likely working on other health-tracking projects. Just a few days ago, the company received 510(k) clearance for a health-tracking watch that’s aimed at clinical or research use. Verily says that the device has been used by thousands in clinical research studies, and thanks to the Food and Drug Administration clearance, it can now be used for more research. It’s likely we’ll see other related products from the company too — fitness tracking is only set to become more important over the next few years.
There’s no word yet on when we’ll see any fitness-tracking shoes co-developed by Verily, but it’s possible we could see something within the next year or so.