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Google buys Fitbit for $2.1 billion



Apple Watch needs to watch out.

Well, that remains to be seen, but the competition is about to get a little more fierce. Fitness tracker giant Fitbit announced Friday it would be acquired by Google for around $2.1 billion. It’s a major acquisition for Google, which has fallen behind in the wearables market after initially making a big splash with Google Glass earlier this decade.

Fitbit’s press release and a blog post by Google’s senior VP of devices and services Rick Osterloh both outline Google’s plans for Fitbit in broad strokes, but they’re light on specifics. Osterloh wrote that Google wants to “spur innovation in wearables and build products to benefit even more people around the world,” but how the tech behemoth plans to alter Fitbit’s extensive product line is a mystery for now.

One thing is eminently clear, though: Google and Fitbit’s announcements both made it clear that data gathered by the devices will not be given to advertisers. 

The consumer version of Google Glass was an interesting failure.

The consumer version of Google Glass was an interesting failure.

Image: Kim Kulish/Corbis via Getty Images

From the outside looking in, this acquisition makes sense for both sides. Google was something of a wearables pioneer with Glass back in 2013, but the consumer-facing version of that product was never able to overcome its inherent privacy concerns and general silliness. Glass was eventually reeled in, retooled, and rereleased as more of an enterprise device

While Google hasn’t done much in the wearable space since, the company does have its own wearable OS and fitness program to work with.

Fitbit, meanwhile, has struggled a bit since Apple Watch arrived. Getting scooped up and turned into the smartwatch arm of a much bigger company that can compete with Apple directly might be a boon to Fitbit. 

Of course, none of that matters if the devices themselves are terrible. We will have to wait and see.

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