Following Google’s acquisition of Fitbit and its rebranding of the health tech company as ‘Fitbit by Google,’ the search giant is moving to tightly integrate its services with Fitbit’s own. A Google account will be required for “some uses” of Fitbit devices and features from 2023, with plans to have all existing Fitbit accounts migrated to Google accounts by 2025.
An updated support page says that creating a new Fitbit account and activating new Fitbit devices and features will require a Google account from 2023. Existing Fitbit account holders will be able to move over to a Google account or remain with their existing Fitbit login until “at least early 2025,” at which point support for Fitbit accounts will be terminated. The FAQ states that the company will be “transparent with our customers about the timeline for ending Fitbit accounts through notices within the Fitbit app, by email, and in help articles.”
As of the time of writing, Fitbit users can access their desktop accounts via a dedicated Fitbit login or the option to “continue with Google.” This differs from using your Google account to log into Fitbit as they are two separate accounts that do not share data between them. As a condition of the Fitbit acquisition, Google made binding commitments with the European Commission in 2020 to keep Fitbit user data separated from Google systems, in addition to not using said data to target Fitbit users within the European Economic Area with advertisements for at least 10 years.
When we asked how the upcoming change to account access would impact these commitments, a Fitbit spokesperson said “Google accounts on Fitbit will remain in full compliance with our commitments to global regulators. After a user signs up for or moves to a Google account, we will continue to keep Fitbit users’ health and wellness data separated from Google Ads data and this data won’t be used for Google Ads.”
Google is pushing this as a positive move for Fitbit users. The support page says benefits for the change include having “a single login for Fitbit and other Google services, industry-leading account security, centralized privacy controls for Fitbit user data, and more features from Google on Fitbit.” Given Google’s previous history with forced account migrations and customer privacy, however, (cough Nest cough) some skepticism is understandable.