There has been much excitement since Google I/O 2021 about Fitbit being integrated into the Wear OS ecosystem. However, we weren’t sure what that meant. Even more important, we weren’t sure what this meant for Google Fit, Google’s fitness and health monitoring app.
We finally have both the Pixel Watch, and Fitbit OS on Wear OS now, over a year after the launch. But I feel that this could be the end of Google Fit. Google has effectively two apps for tracking health and fitness across its smartwatches and smartphones, so I have to wonder about the future.
James Park (Fitbit founder and Google wearables leader) spoke to CNET about the apps. He said that the two will be coexisting and Fitbit would continue to be the flagship primary health app. My opinion is that the strategy seems a bit confusing. I think Google would do better if the two apps were merged somehow.
Google Fit is a key part of my gym-going routine. Although it’s not the greatest fitness app out there, it has many great features. One of my favorite things about Google Fit is the fact that it consolidates all the information I have on health and fitness into one app. Fitbit is popular, and many people trust it. I personally haven’t tried it.
It makes sense for the company to combine the services in the future, considering its recent efforts to consolidate other apps and eliminate redundant services that “focus” it. It doesn’t make any sense to develop Google Fitbit and Google Fitbit separately.
Jitesh Ubrani is the research manager at IDC’s global device tracker. He agrees that Google should focus more on one than the other.
Ubrani told me that Fitbit apps must be available for as long a Fitbit device is around.
It doesn’t make any sense to keep both Google Fitbit and Fitbit separate entities in the long-term. A merger of these two is the best option. Although this will be beneficial for Google’s products, some Wear OS partners may not benefit. Google allows partners to make their apps. This means that Google Fit may be relegated by third-parties, while core Fitbit strengths are kept under the bigger Pixel or Google umbrella.
But it won’t be an easy task to switch between the two. Google Fit, as we’ve already mentioned, is a well-known company, while Fitbit is a more obscure service. While the former hasn’t yet taken off, Google is slowly adding more functionality to the app. For example, Google Health Connect now supports Fitbit users, which allows them to see their Fit data via Nest smart displays. There are also a number of other useful features. While there is still much room to improve, it’s Google.
After the Stadia case, it’s clear that no one is secure. Google can very quickly absorb Fitbit and make it Fitbit.
The terms of Google’s purchase of Fitbit are also a matter. According to the European Commission, the agreement was approved on the condition that Google maintain a “technical separation” of Fitbit user data. It also stipulates that Google cannot use Fitbit data for advertising purposes. The commitment will be in place until 2029. This could mean that Google can’t merge them. It is also likely why both apps must coexist.
Fitbit or Fitbit?
We’ve faced some first-generation product problems since the release of the Pixel Watch. First, Pixel Watch’s integration is missing some of the functionality users know and love, like automatic workout detection, or Irregular Heart Rhythm notifications. Even some of the existing Wear OS watches like the new, battery life is still a bit short. Galaxy The Watch 5 is far more advanced than the Fitbits.
Fitbit currently only works with the Pixel Watch. There is no information on when or if it will become available for other Wear OS watches.
Even worse is the fact that Google Fit seems to have disappeared. Wear OS 3 is missing the app, support on other Wear OS smartwatches such as the Pixel Watch has not been good. Galaxy Watch. Fossil explained that this was simply due to the fact that the app wasn’t being updated in order to use the new Wear Health Services. It seems odd that Google did not update the app to support Wear Health Services. This leaves OEMs with little to no control over health tracking. Fossil was even forced to devise a way to ensure that Fit data could be synced with its Wear OS3 watches.
Ubrani notes that Wear OS OEMs may be encouraged to make their own apps. This is akin Fossil’s Wellness app or Fossil’s Fossil. However, Google Fit is an integral part of my journey to a healthier lifestyle. Wear OS 3’s poor support for this feature makes it a bit difficult.
Google isn’t the only one with this problem Realistically Fit is still being developed and Google has probably not forgotten about it. It is possible that Google will eventually discontinue Google Fit. Google accounts will be required to make use of new features or devices. Fitbit accounts are being eliminated by the company already. The company may not be able to integrate Fitbit in the future.
Park says that Fitbit’s Pixel Watch launch is a first step, and a major investment. While it’s disappointing that Fitbit isn’t available on other watches yet, Ubrani claims Google has the right idea to launch Fitbit with the Pixel Watch. This, given Google’s strong presence in the wearables market.
The Fitbit app not only helps with your health and fitness but also offers other features, such as exercising routines, access to Fitbit’s community and the possibility to connect to other Fitbits.
Google Fit is, however, despite being around for many decades, hasn’t quite captured the same appeal. It also doesn’t have a single device type, so it is an outsider. Google Fit often draws data from third parties, making it more of a resource than a coach. This is probably why the Fitbit app and brand are right next to the Pixel Watch.
However, we would love to be able to. At least Another strange oversight since Google bought the company over a year ago is the inability to sync both services together. Fitbit may be able to do this once it supports Health Connect, Google’s new API for unified fitness and health data across platforms and apps. However, at the time the writing is taking place, both services remain separate and require a third party app to connect them.
Both the best and worst of both
Fitbit is not something I use, as I have said before. It’s an active service, which I believe is better than Google Fit’s passive approach. Park stated in an interview that apps have remained separate due to their different approaches.
“Both groups of users, both quite substantial, love the app they use for a range of reasons. We don’t think there is any compelling reason for this to change. It’s possible that this is true. However, any attempt by Google to merge the two groups would most likely cause some problems. However, it is my belief that Google must be able to offer us both the best and worst of each in a single app for all its devices.
Google Fit has a unique feature that I absolutely love. It brings together all of my data from Mya Ring smartwatch and Withings smartscale. Fit simply absorbs all of these data. Fit presents the data in an easy-to-understand format that lets you see trends and where it came from. A theoretical merger must at the minimum maintain Fit’s accessibility by making data easy to access.
Fitbit has an advantage in tracking your activities, and it is also more social. It would be great to have this feature in Fit, and it should stay if they ever merge. Fit provides me with no deep information about my fitness, so I can live without it. I don’t care if they are locked to Fitbit Premium, as long I still have my basic fitness and health data.
Although I will miss Google Fit, I believe it’s time that it should slowly be replaced by Fitbit. Fitbit’s Wear OS launch could help OEMs to take some of their burdens off and provide a complete fitness and health tracking experience. This could make it more competitive with Apple’s.
Google will do whatever it wants with Fitbit, Google Fit. I just hope my favorite Fit features don’t go behind paywalls.