Runkeeper evolves into Data Utility Layer

It’s only been a little over two months since RunKeeper introduced its Health Graph API, and almost 20 health app developers and device manufactures have already signed up as partners on the emergent project. Runkeeper is clearly aiming to be a major part of the health Data Utility Layer. In fact the day Google Health announced its exit, the jokers at Runkeeper tweeted that they were ready to take over. Half joking-full serious.

RunKeeper’s mobile app, which has been around and gaining popularity for three years, is built on the Health Graph. Soon, the Health Graph API portal, which is still in its alpha phase, will grant RunKeeper’s six million users access to the expansive sets of data that the graph is based on.

If this is starting to sound complex — don’t worry. The point of the program is to aggregate and make sense of as much multi-sourced information as you tell it to. As the API expands, you’ll be able to keep using your favorite health apps, websites and devices, and you’ll probably even get hooked on more. At the end of the day, after your steps have been counted, your calories recorded and your blood pressure logged, all of the data will go in one place.

In 2010 the Pew Research Center found that there were 250,000 mobile apps available for the iPhone, more than 30,000 for Android smartphones and several thousand for the Blackberry device. Included in these numbers are multiple apps that help people to monitor their personal health and even coach them on improving their wellbeing. The Health Graph API aims to be a one-stop portal where data from its own RunKeeper app, a workout tracker, interacts with information from other mobile, web-based and bluetooth sources. Among these are Foursquare, Zeo, Withings, Polar, Wahoo and BodyMedia — all Health Graph alpha launch partners that provide different services. The goal is that, as more apps and devices integrate with Health Graph, users can gain a more complete picture of their health.

And the list of partners is growing, as RunKeeper recently announced the newest eight to join the project. New collaborators include Jog Log, iSmoothRun, SwimConverter, WeightConnect, Fitocracy, Fitness Widget Generator, Withings’ Blood Pressure Monitor, and Arookoo. The apps fit into one of seven categories including apps for activity, sleep, nutrition and strength tracking as well as widgets, miscellaneous and games. One such game app is one by new partner Arookoo, which sends users on challenges to get up and moving around their city.

The Health Graph API was inspired by the observation that the more users incorporate fitness devices, the more engaged they are in tracking their health. Next up, three more apps will be live within the next few weeks: Kinetic, a GPS app for running, walking and cycling; Weight Meter, a web site that tracks daily scale readings; and Superproof, a social game and app that connects friends working toward health goals. RunKeeper says that hundreds more companies are ready to connect, and we’re sure to hear more about them when RunKeeper joins us for the upcoming Health 2.0 Conference.

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