Google’s Acquisition of Fitbit Is its Latest Leap into Gadgetry

Google’s acquisition of wearable pioneer Fitbit could also be a bold plunge into health and fitness technology. However, it’s additionally simply the latest step within the internet giant’s usually-halting effort to change into a force in consumer hardware.

As soon as a pure software program firm recognized for its search engine, apps resembling Gmail and its Android software program for smartphones, Google has, for the last several years, been constructing out its personal suite of hardware products. These embrace its area of interest Pixel smartphones and quite a lot of good devices from the audio system to thermostats to Wi-Fi routers, all just lately rebranded as “Nest” products.

Last month, the corporate introduced a slate of latest products together with a Pixel telephone, a Nest speaker, and wi-fi earbuds. However, its gross gadget sales are nonetheless minuscule in comparison with rivals Apple and Samsung.

That doesn’t essentially matter a lot to Google, which sees hardware mostly as a solution to get individuals hooked on its software program and artificial intelligence providers. Health and fitness wearables like those that made Fitbit well-known are only one more route for Google to create a presence in people’s lives. The Fitbit deal, which is predicted to shut next year, can even give Google one other huge chunk of personal health and placement data. Google stated it wouldn’t promote advertisements using health and wellness data.

However, it should nonetheless have all that data, which places a variety of personal information in a single place in case of breaches or leaks. One unanswered query is what’s going to occur to individuals who have enrolled in office “wellness” programs that use Fitbit. Consumer Studies health privateness professional Dena Mendelsohn worries that such employees might not understand that they’ve lost control of their data.

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