Google will begin assimilating Fitbit accounts next year

Google’s acquisition of Fitbit was completed in early 2021, but we haven’t seen much change yet. 9to5Google has noticed a big upcoming change posted on Fitbit’s help page: Account Migrations! A new Fitbit help page has outlined a plan for the upcoming Google account migration. If it looks a lot like a Nest account migration (done by the same Google hardware division), Fitbit users are waiting for a wild ride.

The Google support page says, “We plan to allow Fitbit to be used with a Google account in 2023” and that at this point, “some Fitbit uses will require a Google Account, including registration with Fitbit or activation of newly released Fitbit devices and features.” This means optional. Account migrations for existing users in 2023. Google also says: “Fitbit account support will continue until at least early 2025. Once Fitbit accounts are finished, a Google account will be required to use Fitbit. We will be transparent with our customers on the account closure schedule.” Fitbit via notifications in the Fitbit app, email, and help articles. ”

Linking your accounts will of course mean that Google will get your health data. Google says that “you must consent to the transfer of your Fitbit user data from Fitbit to Google” and that “Google will provide you with Fitbit in accordance with the Terms of Service, Privacy Policy and binding commitments for Fitbit.” Part of those EU commitments that Google has chosen to apply globally is that “Google will not use Fitbit health and wellness data in Google Ads.”

Google’s Advertising of Why You Want to Move says: “Google Accounts on Fitbit will support a range of benefits for Fitbit users, including single sign-on to Fitbit and other Google services, industry-leading account security, centralized privacy controls for Fitbit, user data, and more features from Google on Fitbit ”. Really, though, with Fitbit’s borgization becoming mandatory in 2025, the resistance is futile.

Hopefully it does better than Nest

The closest experience we have to these major account migrations is Google’s support for Nest accounts in 2019. It was (and still is) a very bumpy road. After years of coexistence after Google acquired Nest in 2014, Google decided to kill Nest accounts after five years and transfer everyone to a Google account. You weren’t forced to change, but the change didn’t just mean the slow death of your account as you weren’t allowed to add new devices and weren’t getting any new features. The account transfer made a lot of changes to how Nest works and how Nest works, introducing regressions such as losing control of a location-based thermostat for several months, breaking existing third-party app compatibility, and dying “Works with the Nest Ecosystem.” It also meant an end to Google’s segregation of Nest data from all other Google datasets.
Nest still hasn’t really recovered from Google-ification. The original Nest app is still beaten to death with a stick “not invented here,” and Google wants everyone (and forced some products) to switch to the Google Home app. The Google app, however, is an unorganized dumpster for any Google smart home product, and is certainly the company’s worst and most misunderstood app. It’s still not complete with the Nest app, and you don’t have to look far to find angry customers. Google also doesn’t offer a web interface for anything, whereas before, offered web features for thermostats and cameras. Google has owned Nest for seven years and still hasn’t figured it out.
So far, the only difference we’ve seen with the Google / Fitbit team is Fitbit branding, giving way to “Fitbit by Google” brands. If we follow the example of history and assume that Google does not learn from its mistakes, the Fitbit transition mimics Nest very well. We imagine the Fitbit app and website being hit by the same stick “not invented here” and Google Fit taking over as the new Fitbit companion app (Google Fit no longer has a functional website). Fitbit has a lot of integrations with other services, but it will likely need to be ported to some sort of Google API like the Google Fit API. Of course, this will mean that some features will survive, some will be completely lost, and some developers won’t want to jump over and recode previously working integrations. Buckle up!

Google says more information will be available closer to the release date in 2023.

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