Image via Lifesum

It being the time of year when most of us set some health-related goals, Lifesum picked an apt time to unveil its latest offering. Yesterday, the Swedish company officially unveiled a Google Assistant version of its nutrition app, which allows users to track meals, weight, and water intake using their voice instead of a phone or watch.

The Lifesum app, which has already amassed a large following for its Android and iOS versions, uses a combination of data and motivational psychology to help users track their food intake and meet goals around their health, like losing 10 pounds or learning to like broccoli. Upon signing up, users take a brief test to help them choose an appropriate diet plan (e.g., keto, high protein, etc.), then track protein, fat, and carb intake for each meal via the app. A weekly score tells the user how on-track their food consumption is with their set goals, and offers tips for improvement. At just over $3/month, it’s also a pretty good bargain for the number of features you get.

The obvious plus of combining an app like this with Google Assistant is that one need not pull out their phone and input every single meal or glass of water they want to track. You simply tell Assistant to talk to Lifesum when you want to log items. The Lifesum app will also issue challenges based on a location you give it (this is completely opt-in). If you’re in your kitchen, for example, it might tell you to hide sugary foods.

That said, Lifesum’s Google Assistant app isn’t yet as robust as we expect it to become in future. Right now it’s really more of a companion to the mobile versions of the app. You can tell Google Assistant to track meals, but to record the specific foods and other details, you’ll have to go into your phone later. So for now, at least, the Lifesum app simply acts as a placeholder. If you don’t have time to record all the details of your enormous supper directly after the meal, you can just say “track a large dinner,” then fill in the details once you have time. Also, since Google Assistant’s usefulness varies based on location, using the Lifesum app in certain scenarios, like a loud restaurant, would be difficult.

The global fitness app market is predicted to grow to $2 billion by 2023. Lifesum raised $10 million in 2016, and there’s a lot of other capital going around this space. Nutrition and fitness training app Freeletics closed a $45 million Series A funding round in December. MyFitnessPal, who was acquired by Under Armour back in 2015, is another popular food- and fitness-tracking app out there.

Lifesum for Google Assistant is only available in English at the moment. The company indicates it will eventually bring full functionality to the Assistant app, and welcomes suggestions for features from current users.

I’m not sure how useful this version of the app is right now, given its current limitations and the fact that it’s not that hard to take your phone out of your pocket and put some numbers in. Nonetheless, it’s nice to see some companies experimenting with how voice command can play a role in keeping track of what you eat and setting realistic goals around that.

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