In late 2010, Google announced a deal with Fitbit to acquire a company worth more than bit 2 billion, but in the meantime, the deal had to be approved by multiple regulatory authorities. After receiving thumbs up from the EU last month, Google today officially completed the acquisition of Fitbit.
In a blog post on The Keyword today, Rick Osterlo, SVP of Google’s Devices and Services, confirmed that the acquisition of the company’s Fitbit has been completed. In a blog post, Osterloh echoed what Google said during its investigation into the deal, saying it was “devices, not data”. Over the past year, the extensive health information that Fitbit keeps for its users has become a matter of concern for regulatory authorities. To allay concerns from the EU, Google has promised not to use any of those health data for advertising targets.
In addition, Google has promised to release Android APIs that enable other fitness trackers and smartwatches to easily connect to Android Open for third-party platforms and hardware manufacturers.
More importantly, Osterloh added that Fitbit users will still be able to use their watches and trackers with third-party services through their Fitbit account.
This agreement was not always about data, it was about devices, and we made it clear from the start that we would protect the privacy of fit users. We’ve worked with regulators around the world to ensure that consumers ‘privacy expectations are protected, including a mandatory commitment that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads and that this data will be separated from other Google ads data. We will maintain access to Android applications that enable devices such as fitness trackers and smart watches to interact with Android smartphones, and we will continue to allow fit users to connect to third party services so that you will still be able to fit your apps. Please. These promises will be implemented worldwide so that all consumers can benefit from them. We will continue to work with regulators around the world to reassure them that we are living up to these commitments.
In a letter, Fitbit CEO James Park also commented on the acquisition. He said that “it’s just the beginning” for Fitbit and that it opens new doors for users in Google’s shadow to work on their health and improve them, and to improve and motivate users. He said that with Google’s resources in hand, “the possibilities are truly limitless.”
Park also raised hopes among Fibet users who were concerned that the Google acquisition would change how their devices work today. He said that “many of the things you know and like about Fitbit will remain the same” and that Fitbit will continue to provide its flexible hardware and software that will work with both Android and iOS. He further reiterated his commitment to privacy:
Our user confidence will continue to be paramount and we will be transparent in controlling your data and what we collect and why, and we will maintain strong data privacy and security. Google will continue to protect the privacy of Fitbit users and has multiple obligations with global regulators, ensuring that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads and that this data will be kept separate from other Google advertising data. Google has also confirmed that it will continue to allow fit users to choose to connect to third-party services. That means you’ll still be able to connect your favorite health and wellness apps to your FitByte account.
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