Google’s Acquisition Of Fitbit Is More About User Data Than Technology

fitbit wearable inspire

Google late this week acquired Fitbit for $2.1 billion, just days after the deal was first rumored. This acquisition not only gives Google access to a bigger slice of the wearable market pie, but a greater amount of information about users’ health and fitness. Many have argued that Google's agreement with Fitbit is more about the possession of data than technology.

Rumors had cropped up at the end of October that Alphabet, Google’s parent company, had been in talks with Fitbit. This rumor was confirmed on November 1st in a blogpost by Rick Osterloh, Google’s Senior Vice President of Devices & Services. Osterloh stated that they hope to “spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world.”

fitbit wearable

Google introduced its own Wear OS and Google Fit app in 2014, but have yet to make headway into wearable hardware. Companies such as Apple, Xiaomi, and Huawei currently dominate the wearable market. According to IDC, Apple claimed 26.8% market share in 2018. Google and Apple compete with one another in several ways, but Google has been unable to track the same amount of user health data that Apple is able to access. This acquisition may place Google and Apple on the same playing field with regards to wearables. Google has promised that they will soon release their own “Made By Google” wearable devices into the market and work with Fitbit to create better products.

Many are concerned about Google’s access to so much user data. Osterloh remarked, “Similar to our other products, with wearables, we will be transparent about the data we collect and why.” He promised that Google will never personal information or use Fitbit data for advertisements. He also noted that Fitbit users will be able to review and delete data. Google does tend to be more transparent about other companies about the kind of data that they collect, but they still collect a massive amount of data. Google has experienced antitrust investigation before and will more than likely face another one again.

This acquisition has caused many to ask or reconsider how much data is too much data? Should Google, Apple, and other companies be able to access so much information about our health, environments, communication, etc.? At the moment there appears to be few limitations, and it will be interesting to see what Google does with its acquisition of Fitbit.
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