What about users’ data privacy as Google completes Fitbit acquisition

Nwachukwu Glory Last updated: January 16, 2021
Google Fitbit privacy
  • The American multinational tech firm completes the acquisition of Fitbit, leading consumer fitness electronics company, after a long tough regulatory battle.
  • The internet giant acquired the fitness firm at around $2.1 billion.
  • Fitbit claims that Google will continue to protect users’ privacy.

Alphabet’s Google has finally completed the acquisition of Fitbit following the approval from the EU late last year. The tech giant confirmed that it had purchased Fitbit for $2.1 billion as it plans to enter a new market.

Google was under investigation by the U.S. government, the European Union, and the Australian government for the merger deal with the fitness company. In Dec. 2020, the EU approved the merger deal, which opened ways for the internet deity to acquire Fitbit.

From the user’s side, the essential question is, how will Google handle their fitness privacy?

How will Google handle Fitbit’s users’ privacy post-Fitbit-acquisition?

After receiving approval from the EU, Google, on Jan. 14, announced that it had acquired the fitness firm. Google looks forward to utilizing Fitbit’s technology and empowering its position in the fitness wearables market.

The acquisition deal between Google and Fitbit was signed almost a year ago. The reason it took so long was that the EU was investigating it. Fitbit’s users had concerns over their fitness data privacy and what Google will do with it—once it acquires the company.

Fitbit’s CEO, James Park, assured that the new parent company of Fitbit would continue to protect users’ privacy. The users’ will have control over their data. If Google collects any sort of data, the company will inform the users—keeping things transparent.

Park added that Google wouldn’t use fitness and health data for ads, and user’s data will be stored in a separate directory. 

The inquiry held by the European Commission resulted in Google’s commitment to keeping Fitbit customer’s data in safe hands. Also, the investigation pending in the U.S. is vital to hold back on users’ privacy.

Under the shadow of regulators, it restricts Google to block access for other devices to connect to Android phones. The company will also maintain the Fitbit Web API, so it will continue to work with third-party services. 

Google is pledged to follow the instructions of the EU Commission for almost ten years. The commission has the authority to extend these commitments beyond 10 years. In the meantime, Google will remain under observation— whether it complies with the EU Commission or not.

Notably, Google will have to implement the EU’s instructions worldwide.

What’s the motive of Google with Fitbit’s acquisition?

Google appreciates the way Fitbit has helped people to live a healthier life. Over the years, the fitness company became more vibrant as its customers turned into a community of over 29 million active users. Fitbit specializes in producing electronic equipment and wearable devices that help people to track their health records.

The hardware chief at Google, Rick Osterloh, said this acquisition was about devices, not data. Google’s major focus is to work on the technology of Fitbit and apprehend its place in the market.  

Google’s target is to align its technology with Fitbit’s tech to compete against Apple, Garmin, Huawei, Samsung, and others. That’s the reason that Google added the fitness company to its arsenal.

In the first half of 2020, Fitbit accumulated 2.4% of the global smartwatch market revenue. In contrast, Apple was leading the market with 51.4%, Garmin with 8.3%, Huawei with 8.3%, and Samsung with 7.2%.

The binding forces of Google and Fitbit will make it easier to create dominance in the market. Going forward, the merger deal will diversify the wearables and improve fitness equipment for people.

However, Google is yet to answer the U.S. Department of Justice for its merger with Fitbit. Users’ are concerned about their privacy more than ever before. The tech giant has been caught tracking users without their knowledge. Similarly, the WhatsApp privacy update is a recent example of how seriously the world is taking such privacy issues.

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About the Author

Nwachukwu Glory is a writer, blogger, and tech nerd. She loves trying new gadgets that make life more fun ( and easier). Glory is passionate about digital security and privacy alongside browsing the World Wide Web without any limitations.

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