FROM Pixel watch People around the corner wondered what was going on with Fitbit now that Google has officially taken over the brand. According to the updated Support pageit looks like an account consolidation is on the horizon.
Next year, Google will require a Google account to use certain Fitbit features. “We plan to enable Fitbit to be used with a Google account in 2023,” explains Google. For now, you’ll still need your Fitbit account to set up your new device.
If you want to link your Google Account when the option goes live next year, you’ll need to consent to the transfer of Fitbit data from one account to another. You can then continue to use your existing Fitbit account as long as Google supports it, until “at least early 2025”. Regardless, after 2025, a Google login will be required unless you want your watch to be garbage. Google says it will provide additional information closer to launching Google accounts on Fitbit.
The company cites several benefits of the move: Fitbit and Google single sign-on, “industry-leading account security”, “Fitbit data privacy centralized control” and “Access to additional Google features” in Fitbit. However, it does not explain what users can expect after 2025, only that “a Google account will be required to use Fitbit.”
Of course, this causes several red flags for people who aren’t too keen on linking their fitness data to the Google ecosystem. Google promises to “protect the privacy of Fitbit customers” in Europe under the previous agreement, but the open question is how long it will keep the data separate after someone makes a change or whether it will use the collected data for non-advertising purposes while its contract time is still running out. Its compliance with EU regulations it only lasts ten years, after which the commission may decide to reinstate it.
After that, would users still have a decoupling of their health data from the data used to serve them ads on the Android platform? What about current Google and Fitbit accounts in the US, which do not enjoy the same data protection?
When I contacted Google to ask for answers to the above questions, I got the same answer they gave to other establishments. “Fitbit’s Google Accounts will remain in full compliance with our commitments to global regulators. When a user signs up or moves to a Google Account, we will continue to separate the health and wellness data of Fitbit users from the Google Ads data and will not be used in Google Ads. ” There is no mention of whether this will go beyond the ten-year timeline.
This is likely to become a hotter topic once the Pixel Watch is officially launched. They are obvious leaks Fitbit branding on the box, which leads us to believe it will be a big part of the launch of this product.
I haven’t used Fitbit in years, so I checked the current login situation. I had to reset my password to gain access. On the main account page, there is already a prompt for a Google account, which is different from Google accounts on Fitbit. This is similar to how Google made people transfer your Nest accounts to Google, creating a piecemeal clutter in the Google smart home ecosystem.
While this may not be the same type of fragmentation, it brings to mind the power Google has to lure users into its system by seizing big tickets. Hopefully, Google will ditch this act and be as transparent as it promises when it reveals more details about what’s going on with Fitbit accounts soon.