Alphabet's Verily health watch gets FDA approval for ECG feature

It's still just a research tool... for now.

Verily announced a health watch in 2017 aimed at unearthing insights into medical conditions such as Parkinson's disease and PTSD. One of the focus areas for Alphabet's health division and its prescription-only Study Watch is cardiovascular health, and its efforts in that department have gained more legitimacy. Verily received FDA clearance for the watch's electrocardiogram (ECG) technology, with the agency designating the wearable as a Class II medical device.

Verily says the watch can record and display single-channel ECG rhythms. Along with the research trials, doctors may prescribe the device to individuals as part of their clinical care. "Receiving this clearance showcases our commitment to the high standards of the FDA for safety and effectiveness and will help us advance the application of Study Watch in various disease areas and future indications," Verily said in a blog post.

Study Watch isn't a consumer device, but now Verily has earned FDA approval, it's not impossible to imagine Google borrowing the ECG tech for a Pixel Watch or its Wear OS platform. After all, Google just bought smartwatch tech from Fossil for $40 million, underscoring its commitment to wearables. With Apple making a big splash with its own ECG tool in Apple Watch Series 4, it's not unlikely Google would want to offer more health-focused options within its smartwatch ecosystem.