Fitbit owners will need to use a Google account by 2025. Owners of Fitbit wearables will be required by Google to move from a Fitbit account to a Google account, with the requirement possibly taking effect as early as 2025.
Concerns regarding user privacy and whether Google would have direct access to information have existed long before and after the $2.1 billion acquisition of Fitbit was finalized in January 2021. It appears that access could occur in the next several years, according to an update to Fitbit’s support sites.
Currently, Fitbit devices employ a Fitbit-specific account, which is often separate from Google’s services. The only time that Fitbit data is shared with Google’s numerous applications is if a user chooses to do so. Otherwise, the data is kept separate.
According to a modification to the help page that The Register saw, Google will begin to ask users to sign in using a Google account as of 2023.
Users must join up using a Google account that is connected to Fitbit, whether they are new customers or returning users who have upgraded and wish to access additional features.
There is a time restriction on how long other users can disconnect their Fitbit account from their Google account. The support website states that Fitbit accounts will be supported until at least early 2025, after which a Google account will be necessary.
Users will benefit from “a single login for Fitbit and other Google services, industry-leading account security, centralized privacy settings for Fitbit user data, and more,” according to the description of the move.
Because Google uses user data to fuel its many goods and services, the move will worry some industry observers, but there are guarantees that Google would handle the moved data carefully.
Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google Ads, according to a statement on the page that reads, “Google will continue to respect Fitbit customers’ privacy and has established a series of enforceable guarantees with foreign authorities.” This information will be maintained apart from Google Ads information.
The assurances were given to allay concerns of authorities looking at the Fitbit purchase. The ten-year commitments call for the technological isolation of Fitbit user data, prohibit the use of the data for Google Ads, provide user control over allowing access to the data, among other things.
Some business analysts may be concerned by the move because Google depends on user data to power its wide range of products and services, but there is assurance that Google would treat the transferred data with care.
According to a statement on the page that states, “Google will continue to respect Fitbit customers’ privacy and has negotiated a number of enforceable guarantees with foreign authorities,” Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be utilized for Google Ads. The Google Ads information will not be stored with this information.
Or in other words After buying Fitbit and renaming it “Fitbit by Google,” the search engine giant is attempting to seamlessly combine its services with Fitbit’s offerings. From 2023, “certain usage” of Fitbit devices and services will require a Google account, and all current Fitbit accounts will be converted to Google accounts by 2025.
According to a revised support website, starting in 2023, a Google account will be necessary to create a new Fitbit account and activate new Fitbit devices and features. Up until “at least early 2025,” existing Fitbit account holders will be able to switch to a Google account or continue using their current Fitbit login before support for Fitbit accounts is discontinued.
The business will inform consumers of the schedule for terminating Fitbit accounts “via messages inside the Fitbit app, through email, and in support articles,” according to the FAQ.
Fitbit users may now access their desktop accounts using a specific Fitbit login or the “continue with Google” option. This is different from logging into Fitbit using your Google account because they are independent accounts that do not exchange data. Google made legally binding agreements with the European Commission in 2020 to keep Fitbit user data separate from Google systems and not use said data to target Fitbit users in the European Economic Area with advertisements for at least 10 years. These agreements were a requirement of Google’s acquisition of Fitbit.
When asked how this pledge would be affected by the anticipated change to account access, a Fitbit representative said, “Google accounts on Fitbit will remain in full compliance with our commitments to worldwide regulators. We will continue to keep Fitbit customers’ health and wellness data distinct from Google Ads data if a user joins up for or switches to a Google account, and this data won’t be utilized for Google Ads.
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This is being promoted by Google as an improvement for Fitbit users. A single login for Fitbit and other Google services, industry-leading account security, centralized privacy settings for Fitbit user data, and additional Google features on Fitbit are among the benefits of the transition, according to the support website. However, some mistrust is justified given Google’s past experiences with forced account migrations and user privacy.