Ugh, Google is buying Fitbit

My first bit device, back in 2011

Pretty sure you already had heard the news of Google buying Fitbit for about 2 billion dollars, and I, as a customer, don’t like it.

Since the very first devices, I had liked Fitbit’s discreteness. Surely their devices weren’t oriented for professionals, like Garmin’s, but small enough to carry them on daily basis, the battery last about three weeks, and they sync whenever you are close to a PC (or your phone). I’m not a sporty nor outdoor type of people, so Fitbit is a great for tracking my overall walking activity without having to carry my phone all the time.

Some people are worried about their data, to which Fitbit responded:

The company never sells personal information, and Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.

Of course, you don’t need to sell the data, or use it for ads, to profit from it: “IBM didn’t inform people when it used their Flickr photos for facial recognition training“. But fine, I feel my data on Fitbit’s servers is that important.

My gripe about Google buying Fitbit, is that the later would become a worse service. You see, Google is pretty inconsistent with their product strategies, for a corporation of their size that has been unable to sort out their messaging apps for so long, the future doesn’t look good for Fitbit. And Google’s customer support is terrible bad:

The lesson I learned a long time ago is Google products are great until you need to contact someone. I’m sure a few people have some ability to directly contact a real person at the company, but 99% of us are stuck with their product support forums that OP linked to, which frankly are terrible and rarely solve any real problems

ddtaylor comment on Hacker News: G Suite Horror Story

What I can see happening is:

  • Google will shove WearOS into new Fitbit-based hardware offerings.
  • All current Fitbit accounts will be migrated to Google’s, which would lead to existing features stop working and having to deal with “legacy accounts“.
  • Rebrand it a couple times, because why not.
  • If Google can’t make a significant bent on Apple’s wearables market share, they might decide to focus on something else, making Fitbit join the “Killed by Google” club.

Man, I’m sad about this. Just a few weeks ago, I was telling a few coworkers how nice Fitbit works. So much for trying to stir away from some of Google’s mess.