‘We Will Give Fitbit Users The Choice,’ Google
Fitbit users have been in a frenzy since the announcement of Google’s acquisition of the smart-wearable device company over fears the tech giant will sell personal information to third parties.
A swath of Fitbit users have been posting to social media threatening to boycott the company after Google announced it would acquire the wearable device business, with many users even threatening to switch to rival companies in Twitter posts.
Google announced a US$2.1 billion acquisition deal of wearable device company Fitbit last week which sparked immediate fears from US lawmakers, with Republican senator Josh Hawley, questioning how a company could ‘be permitted to acquire even more companies while they’re under DOJ antitrust investigation?’
At the time David Cicilline, Democratic congressman criticized the deal over fears Google would gain ‘insights into a consumer’s most sensitive information’ which could further entrench their market power.
It comes during a competitive wearable device environment where both Fitbit and Apple have been competing over health-related features like the ECG app that features in the Watch Series 5.
As covered by ChannelNews, Fitbit has been accelerating into the healthcare space announcing deals with pharmaceutical companies, as well as securing health programs with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers for up to a million users.
‘Accelerating innovation in the category and ultimately helping more people around the world get healthier’ is the ultimate goal of Fitbit going into 2020, according to James Park, chief executive officer of Fitbit.
In a statement from Rick Osterloh Senior Vice President, Devices & Services regarding the acquisition announcement, Google maintained it ‘will never sell personal information to anyone.’
‘Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads. And we will give Fitbit users the choice to review, move, or delete their data.’
While this statement may be comforting, it is also a select choice of words being that they only reference Google ads, rather than saying the data would not be sold at all.
Time will tell just exactly what insight Google will gain from the acquisition of Fitbit, provided its approval, but until then we will just have to trust the tech giant to be ‘transparent about the data [they] collect and why’.