Just like these Hans and Franz, fitness-obsessed TV hosts, Google wants to pump you up.
The company plans to add fitness tracking technology and support for interactive home workouts to its Android TV platform, and integrate these software features into smart TVs also running other companies’ software. . If the vision comes to fruition, supported smart TVs would sync with Fitbit trackers and smartwatches running Google Wear OS—such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch or Google Pixel Watch—which could be used to monitor a user’s progress through a series of workouts in the living room. It will be like watching a video of Richard Simmons or Billy Blanks which can also track your reps and measure your heart rate.
Details of how it will work are unclear, as the news – first reported by protocol – came from a private meeting Google held with other smart home companies. Still, it’s obvious that Google is set to compete with smart home fitness services like Apple Fitness+, which uses an Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as devices like Mirror and Peloton’s Guide.
Depending on the protocol, this move could also include the increased ability to connect Nest speakers or other wireless speakers to your Google-powered TV. The report also states that these changes will most likely arrive in 2023.
Google is a few years behind the big shift to home workouts that came at the start of the pandemic. But this offer could also be seen as part of Google’s effort to bring all of its products together. Merging smart home technology with Android, Wear OS and Android TV means your Google products are used more often and in more combinations.
Here’s what else you need to know about the week in consumer tech.
Google calls Apple SMS
In more Google news, the company released a conflicting PSA earlier this week calling on Apple to change the core standards it uses for its text messages. Apple is converting messages to non-Apple devices into standard SMS messages, instead of using the more feature-rich messages RCS standard Google started pushing hard last year. For this reason, some crucial metadata can get lost in translation between platforms.
Google presented Apple’s decision not to support RCS as a coup, blaming Apple for not adhering to more modern standards. In reality, this is probably an attempt to level the playing field between Apple and Google when it comes to cross-device messaging, where the former enjoys significant competitive advantages over the latter; iPhone to iPhone messaging comes with a dizzying array of add-ons and special features that Apple devotees are loath to give up. It’s also ironic to hear such a plea coming from Google, a company that has introduced a dozen different email apps over the years and can’t even keep the name of its email products straight. Undeterred, Google waged its campaign to social media, trying to get other people to jump on board. Now Google is just waiting for a response that Apple “loved this post.”
Ring camera videos are controversial. The Amazon-owned company collects data on both its users and the people captured by the camera, and then can share those videos with law enforcement without the user’s consent. Still, the videos themselves captured people’s attention. There’s a whole genre of viral videos (yes, on TikTok) reveling in the wacky antics of people and pets captured on Ring cameras. Now Amazon is looking to turn those clips into an entire show.
Called Ring Nation, the show will be hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes. The content will be pretty much what you’d expect: a collection of funny and/or horrific videos of the kind of mayhem happening on people’s porches and in their backyards. The show is produced by Big Fish Entertainment, the same production company that created livea crime documentary show that was canceled following the 2020 murder of George Floyd. Ring Nation premieres September 26.