Like those fitness-obsessed TV hosts Hans and Franz, Google wants to cheer you up.
The company is mulling plans to add fitness-tracking technology and support for interactive home workouts to its Android TV platform, and integrate these software features into devices running other companies’ software. Smart TV. If that vision comes to fruition, supported smart TVs will sync with Fitbit trackers and smartwatches running Google Wear OS — such as the Samsung Galaxy Watch or Google Pixel Watch — that can be used to monitor a user’s progress through a series of living room workouts. Just like watching a Richard Simmons or Billy Blanks video, this one also tracks your reps and measures your heart rate.
Exactly how it works is unclear, as the news — first reported by Protocol — came from a private meeting Google held with other smart home companies. Still, Google is clearly turning to compete with smart home fitness services like Apple Fitness+, which use the Apple Watch and Apple TV, as well as devices like the Mirror and Peloton’s Guide.
Depending on the agreement, the program may also include the expanded ability to connect Nest speakers or other wireless speakers with your Google TV. The report also said these changes are most likely to arrive in 2023.
Google was several years behind in its major shift to work-from-home at the start of the pandemic. But this product can also be seen as part of Google’s efforts to bring all of its products together. Combining smart home technology with Android, Wear OS and Android TV means your Google content is used more often and in more combinations.
Here’s what else you need to know about consumer technology this week.
Google calls out Apple’s SMS
In more Google news, the company launched a confrontation earlier this week The PSA called on Apple to change its basic standards for text messages. Apple converts messages from non-Apple devices to standard SMS messages, rather than using the more feature-rich RCS standard that Google began pushing hard last year. Because of this, some important metadata may be lost in translation between platforms.
Google sees Apple’s decision not to support RCS as a strong move, accusing Apple of not upholding more modern standards. In fact, the playing field between Apple and Google is likely to be level when it comes to device-to-device messaging, with the former enjoying a significant competitive advantage over the latter; iPhone-to-iPhone messaging comes with a surprising number of add-ons and special feature that Apple’s advocates are reluctant to give up. It’s also ironic to hear such a request from Google, a company that has launched more than a dozen different messaging apps over the years and can’t even keep the name of its messaging product correct. Undeterred, Google took its campaign to social media in an attempt to get others to join in. Now Google is just waiting for a response from Apple “liked the message.”
Ring camera video is controversial. The Amazon-owned company collects data about its users and those caught on the cameras, which can then be shared with law enforcement without the users’ consent. Still, the videos themselves have grabbed attention. There’s a whole bunch of viral videos (yes, on TikTok) revelling in the outlandish antics of people and pets captured on Ring cameras. Now, Amazon is looking to turn those clips into a full show.
Known as Ring Nation , the show will be hosted by comedian Wanda Sykes. The content is pretty much what you’d expect: a series of funny and/or scary videos of the kind of mess that happens on people’s porches and yards. The show is produced by Big Fish Entertainment, the production company that produced Live PD, a film set in George Floyd ) police documentary Murder 2020, which was canceled after the incident. The Ringland will be released on September 26.