Google’s acquisition of fitness tracker giant Fitbit has been completed.
Both Fitbit and Google published posts on the deal, which is worth a reported $2.1 billion.
These articles, after the expected platitudes, largely focus on one element: privacy. This is perhaps the biggest worry for Fitbit users, given Google is a company fuelled by data.
Fitbit CEO James Park’s words are the most reassuring.
“Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators, confirming that Fitbit users’ health and wellness data won’t be used for Google ads and this data will be kept separate from other Google ad data,” he writes.
In summary, Google cannot use Fitbit health data to inform your ad profile, which is built up using the data Google harvests about you from other devices and web searches. Fitbit data has to be kept in a separate “data silo”.
Google is also forbidden from blocking access to the APIs other manufacturers of wearables need to make their trackers and smartwatches connect to Google phones. This measure is about market competition, rather than privacy.
These commitments have a shelf life of 10 years, but the European Commission could choose to extend them by up to a further 10 years. Compliance will be monitored by a trustee…..