Google has finally secured the necessary permissions to become part of Fitbit. In a statement released today CO, President & Co-Founder of Fitbit said the company is now officially part of Google.
To remind antitrust regulators have been conducting a probe on whether to clear deal for more than a year. The transaction had come under scrutiny from regulators around the world, due in part to privacy concerns.
Essential reading: Top fitness trackers and health gadgets
What today’s announcement means for Fitbit remains to be seen. The company has become synonymous with fitness trackers over the past few years.
“This is just the beginning because becoming part of the Google family means we can do even more to inspire and motivate you on your journey to better health. We’ll be able to innovate faster, provide more choices, and make even better products to support your health and wellness needs.” said James Park in a statement.
“On our own, we pushed the bounds of what was possible from the wrist, pioneering step, heart rate, sleep and stress tracking. With access to Google’s incredible resources, knowledge and global platform, the possibilities are truly limitless.
He also added that “Google will continue to protect Fitbit users’ privacy and has made a series of binding commitments with global regulators…”
The first we’ve heard of the deal was late last year. Google agreed to pay $7.35 per share for Fitbit in an all-cash deal.
As is expected with all such transactions, regulatory approval is needed. In the US, this was led by the Department of Justice (DoJ). It conducted an investigation into whether the transaction should be allowed to go through.
But regulators have been mulling over the deal across the pond, as well. Even though privacy issues were not part of the EU anti-trust review, there were concerns. Fitbit already holds a lot of data on millions of people, as does Google. Access to Fitbit data is likely to be important to the search giant but it had to make compromises on how it handles user data.
The search giant will not use of Fitbit data (GPS and health data) gathered from anyone for targeted Google ads. What’s more, Google has confirmed third parties will continue to have access to Fitbit users’ data, of course, with their permission. Google will respect commitments for a further 10 years related with Fitbit’s Web API and its own Android API.
These can be extended by regulators for another 10 years. Finally, a technical separation between Google data and that of Fitbit’s has been enforced. This will be held separately.
EEA users will have the option to approve or deny the use of Fitbit data to inform other Google services such as its search engine. They’ll also be able to decide whether Fitbit or Google stores their health data.
If you are still worried about your Fitbit data, there are things you can do. For example you can export and delete your data. Instructions can be found on this link.
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