Snippet: Google Buys Fitbit for $2.1 Billion ☇

Shared on November 1, 2019

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge:

Google has just announced that it’s buying wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.” […]

Under the deal, Fitbit will be joining Google itself. (It’s similar to the current situation with Nest, which is wholly under Google now, compared to when Alphabet had originally acquired the smart home company but left it as a separate division under the corporate structure.)

According to a separate press release issued by Fitbit, the company will still take privacy for heath and fitness data seriously, noting that “Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”

While the combination makes a lot of sense, I still don’t feel great about it. As Google, Facebook, and Amazon purchase smaller companies to integrate with their products, it’s harder to find things that don’t have a creepy feel to them. Fitbit health and wellness data may not be used for Google ads, but what kinds of data analysis could they still be used for?

I try to look at the industry as a whole, recognize my own bias, but increasingly it’s feeling like many options are Apple or giving up some level of privacy and I’m not sure how I feel about such limited choice.

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