Google expands its interest in the wearable device space.
Google has agreed to acquire Fitbit for $2.1 billion in cash.
Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads, according to a press release.
Fitbit’s fitness trackers monitor users’ daily steps, calories burned, and distance traveled. They also measure floors climbed, sleep duration, and quality, and heart rate.
“Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead,” James Park, co-founder and CEO of Fitbit said the release. “Google is an ideal partner to advance our mission. With Google’s resources and global platform, Fitbit will be able to accelerate innovation in the wearables category, scale faster, and make health even more accessible to everyone. I could not be more excited for what lies ahead.”
Related: The Future Of Healthcare Wearables
However, Vik Panda, North America managing director for Dreem, a sleep health company located in Paris, New York and Taipei, cautions that wearables and trackers without solutions have demonstrated limited value.
“In sleep health for instance, trackers are not recommended by sleep specialists because they are not using methods that are proven to work,” Panda says. “Monitoring sleep requires looking at the whole picture, including brain health, not just your heart rate and movement. Quick fixes via pills or gadgets should not be a replacement for traditional clinical practice. Google, Fitbit, Apple, or Amazon should be incorporating technology that builds on traditional medical practices, and offer solutions that are proven to work.”
According to Panda, companies like Google need to offer healthcare technology that includes programs shown to result in behavioral changes. “Gadgets can help, but only when they support real behavioral science based on what has been proven to work in the medical community,” he says. “If we see behavioral therapists being hired, and if we see them having partnerships with technology that works, then we will take more notice.”
Fitbit has sold more than 100 million devices and supports an engaged global community of millions of active users, utilizing data to deliver personalized guidance and coaching to its users. Fitbit will continue to remain platform-agnostic across both Android and iOS.
The transaction is expected to close in 2020, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Fitbit’s stockholders and regulatory approvals.