Google integrating Fitbit more into its own ecosystem, despite what you might think, is not necessarily a bad thing
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It’s been reported everywhere at this point, but in case you missed it, Google will require you to have a Google account to set up new Fitbit devices from 2023, and will migrate all Fitbit ‘legacy’ accounts to be migrated over by 2025. And while this might concerns some, as a Fitbit power user, I don’t mind the merger – I actually look forward to it.
Last year, when it was announced that Fitbits would be running a version of Wear OS, I wasn’t too impressed, although I was far from being surprised. It was only a matter of time before Google started assimilating Fitbit after the acquisition, and you can’t blame them – you won’t pay $2.1 billion to buy a company and just let it do its thing.
More important question: will I be able to access my Fitbit Sleep Animal after the merger?
(Image credit: Fitbit)
No, Google must have had a plan on what it’ll do to Fitbit. This plan probably included merging the Fitbit and Google accounts (or, more like, assimilating) and benchmarking the former’s wearables so Google could launch the Pixel Watch to rival the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. And, surprise-surprise, the Pixel Watch is indeed coming out sooner than we thought!
But the Pixel Watch won’t spell the end of Fitbits; it’s more likely Google will turn the Pixel into a full-blown flagship smartwatch while simultaneously moving Fitbits more into the health and fitness territory, something Fitbit was working on even before Google came into play. Fitbit users have already started seeing Wear OS updates on their wearables.
And now that Fitbit accounts will be merged with Google accounts, these free software updates will likely happen even easier and more frequently. How about security, you say? Will merging accounts not result in Google knowing everything about you, including your resting heart rate, activity levels, and more? What will it do with all that data?
The Pixel Watch won’t make Fitbits obsolete – yet anyway
(Image credit: Google)
Well, according to The Verge (opens in new tab), who managed to get hold of a Fitbit spokesperson, “After a user signs up for or moves to a Google account, [Fitbit] will continue to keep the users’ health and wellness data separated from Google Ads data, and this data won’t be used for Google Ads.” Will the data be used for other purposes? Maybe, but it’s not like we haven’t been willingly handing over all our data to Google as it is when we search for certain things online, including symptoms.
Not to mention, you could already link the Fitbit app with Google Fit, which connects health data from your wearable/smart scale/etc. with your Google account. From 2025, the difference will be that it won’t be optional. So what? Will I lose anything? No. Will it stop me from using the best Fitbits in the future? It won’t. I’m sure I’ll be able to set security and privacy options up in the Fitbit app.
I’m not trying to pretend to know where this whole Google-Fitbit merger is headed, and neither am I fully onboard with my health data being used for anything else but my own information. But I’m also not too bothered about Fitbit accounts going obsolete; it won’t change user experience too much, or at all.
If at any point I feel uncomfortable with how my data is handled, I’ll just stop using Fitbits, the Pixel Watch, or anything else that collects and uses my data without my consent. For now, I’m happy for them to see that I sleep well and that my VO2 max is through the roof; thank you. Fancy a new Fitbit? Check out T3’s roundup of the best Fitbit deals, or browse the deals below.