As seen by camera-based heart and respiratory rate tracking in Fit for Android, one aspect of Google’s Health initiative is leveraging existing devices to collect health data. Google is now in the process of testing on-device snore and cough detection for Android and/or Pixel.

About APK Insight: In this “APK Insight” post, we’ve decompiled the latest version of an application that Google uploaded to the Play Store. When we decompile these files (called APKs, in the case of Android apps), we’re able to see various lines of code within that hint at possible future features. Keep in mind that Google may or may not ever ship these features, and our interpretation of what they are may be imperfect. We’ll try to enable those that are closer to being finished, however, to show you how they’ll look in case that they do ship. With that in mind, read on.

Google Health Studies hit version 2.0 this week to support the launch of a new digital wellbeing study. Strings in that update reveal a “Sleep Audio Collection” study that’s only available to Google employees.

You must be a Full Time Googler with an Android phone to participate in this study. Environmental conditions required for this study are to have no more than one adult sleeper in the same room who does not work for a competitor company.

Google explains that its “Health Sensing team is actively working to bring an advanced suite of sensing capabilities and algorithms to Android devices with the goal of providing users with meaningful insight into their sleep.” This audio collection “supports this mission by providing data necessary to validate, tune, and develop such algorithms.”

These “Cough and Snore algorithms” will translate into a “bedside monitoring” feature on Android devices that works in a “privacy-preserving, on-device” manner for “nocturnal cough and snore monitoring.”  

It’s unclear whether snore and cough detection will be a broader Android feature or a Pixel exclusive. At the very least, it might debut first on the Pixel. It’s unclear what app this capability will live in, with Google Fit and Clock being obvious candidates.

Back in 2020, Google introduced a “Bedtime” hub in Google Clock that works with Digital Wellbeing to estimate time spent in bed. This involves granting the Clock app access to motion and light detection. Meanwhile, Fitbit offers Snore & Noise Detect on the Sense and Versa 3, while the second-generation Nest Hub has a similar capability.

Another theory to consider is that this capability is for the upcoming Nest Tablet in its — presumed — Smart Display/docked (via pogo pins) configuration. That said, Google would reach more users by making this available on all Android phones.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com