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Google is taking a bite out of another piece of the health care pie. On Thursday, the tech giant announced plans to debut two wellness features that allow users of its Pixel smartphone to measure their heart and respiration rate using the device’s camera.

Combined with Google’s other health bets, the rollout gives the tech giant a footprint in several major health markets — from wellness wearables to medical research — and tees it up to compete in a new way with rivals Apple and Amazon by making the Android smartphone a hub for health features.


The announcement comes just weeks after Google finalized its acquisition of Fitbit and follows the company’s December launch of the Google Health Studies app, which lets Android users participate remotely in medical research. Taken together, the moves position Google to execute on health and wellness projects from an array of angles: With Fitbit, it has access to wearables which can be used for not just wellness, but also as monitoring tools in clinical trials, as evidenced by Fitbit’s ongoing heart study. With its Health Studies app, Google allows Android users to enroll in medical research. And with Google Fit, it has a centralized platform for health and wellness features. (The two new heart and respiratory tools will debut within the Google Fit app.)

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