Fitbit users interested in keeping their data out of Google’s reach may be in for a disappointment.
Google closed a deal to purchase Fitbit in early 2021 despite regulatory concerns. To finalize the deal, Google had to agree to a number of provisions, especially in regard to how Fitbit user data was handled.
Despite the assurances, Google has informed users that a Google account will be required for Fitbit users by 2025, a move that will no doubt raise new concerns about user data.
The company outlined its plans in a support document:
If you’re already a Fitbit customer, you can continue to use your existing Fitbit account with your existing Fitbit devices and services for as long as Fitbit accounts are supported. This will be until at least early 2025. After support of Fitbit accounts ends, a Google account will be required to use Fitbit. We’ll provide additional information in 2023 closer to the launch of Google accounts on Fitbit.
Google does assure users it will honor its binding agreements regarding how their data will be handled:
Google will continue to protect Fitbit customers’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators which include the confirmation that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google Ads. This data will be kept separate from Google Ads data.
In addition, during the migration flow before you complete the move, you’ll have the opportunity to review and make changes to your Fitbit data and setup. After you complete your move, you’ll continue to be able to manage your Fitbit data from your Google account settings and the Fitbit app.
Despite the assurances, many users will no doubt be unhappy with the change. As a result, Apple may come out as the biggest winner of the deal.