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Google bought Fitbit: What happens to all your private data?

To say Fitbit is popular would be an understatement. The company’s products are among the top selling wearables to date, with competitive price points and enough features to give Apple’s Watch a run for its money. To see how the Apple Watch and Fitbit stack up against one another, click or tap here.

But now, a new chapter is unfolding for Fitbit. Google has purchased it, which affects the private data you’ve already shared with Fitbit.

If you’re a Fitbit user, here’s what you need to know about Google’s recent acquisition of the brand. Plus, we’ll tell you what the change in management means for your personal data and health information.

Google buys Fitbit — and by extension, all of Fitbit’s customers

On November 1, Google announced it would be purchasing Fitbit and all related assets for the gargantuan sum of $2.1 billion. Google has long desired the company as a potential foil to Apple’s domination of the wearable tech industry. Now, with Fitbit in tow, Google finds itself in a strategic position to take on competitors more effectively.

To put this deal in perspective, Google originally purchased YouTube for 1.6 billion. This means the company paid almost double for Fitbit, showing just how potent wearable technology will likely become in the next decade.

 

Related: Google and Nest are merging

 

As part of the deal, Google is not only scooping up all of Fitbit’s products and users, but their data as well. The company has pledged not to use private data for advertising purposes, but has not explicitly ruled out sharing the information with third-party affiliates.

What does Google’s purchase of Fitbit mean for me and my data?

This is the question on everyone’s mind. Fitbit, as a health tracking device, collects a good deal of personal information from its users.

Fitbit didn’t previously use this information for advertising purposes, but this data was shared with affiliates as part of its enterprise program. These third parties include hospitals, research labs and insurance companies — who use the aggregated data for research and studies.

Expect more of the same from Google, but on a much bigger scale that befits the world’s biggest data conglomerate. Sharing data is good for the company’s bottom line, and it would be out of character for Google to suddenly become stingy with the information.

That said, it’s good news Google won’t be sharing the data for targeted advertising. One would almost expect the company to share it with everyone, based on its previous track record. Click or tap here to see what Google collects via Nest and Google Assistant.

Speaking of Google Assistant, the change in ownership does pose questions concerning how Fitbit will look in the coming years. Right now, the Fitbit versa uses Amazon’s Alexa as its voice assistant. Google claims it has no desire to take Alexa from Fitbit users, but analysts expect a deeper integration between the fitness trackers and Google’s own virtual assistant in the future.

Analysts also expect Google to enhance the connectivity between Fitbit and its own Android operating system. Android fans have long looked for an alternative to Apple’s smartwatch, and the Fitbit may end up as the perfect entry point. Click or tap here to see some of the coolest new features of the Fitbit Versa 2 smartwatch.

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