[Poll results live] Google taking over Fitbit hasn't gone down well, but there's still time to make things right

New updates are being added to the bottom of the story…

Original story (from Aug 29) follows:

Fitbit released its first activity tracker in 2009, but it was until 2014 that it became a leader in the wearable industry thanks to the amazing hardware and software combination on its products.

Perhaps this is what contributed to Google’s acquisition. After all, the search giant is well-known for how good its software is. The takeover was completed in January 2021 at an estimated $2.1 billion.

In the official blogpost announcing the takeover, Google noted that the acquisition will combine “Fitbit’s leading technology” and “Google’s AI, software and hardware” to create better and more affordable next-gen wearables that are more competitive.

Fitbit-Luxe-inline-new
Fitbit Luxe

Indeed, the recently launched Fitbit Charge 5 is a good example of what’s in store from the Google-Fitbit merger. Priced at $180, you get things like a brighter Always On display, an ECG, EDA, more sensors, among other features.

But even as the dust continues to settle, there’s a section of the current Fitbit user base that is still not convinced Google is the right company to take Fitbit products to the next level.

While Fitbit was able to push the limits of what a health and fitness wearable could do on its own, access to Google’s massive resources was seen as the key to unlock even more capabilities in the future.

Google isn’t your go-to company when it comes to hardware, including fitness trackers or even smartwatches. Instead, it makes software used to power smartwatches.

Buying Fitbit, at least on paper, meant that the duo would be in a position to churn out better wearables, eventually helping bridge the gap between Google and Apple in fitness tracker market.

Apple-Watch
Apple Watch – most popular smartwatch

More than half a year later, however, there are still plenty of disgruntled voices from various corners, suggesting that the takeover hasn’t gone down as expected, at least for now.

A quick scroll through the Fitbit forum reveals a bunch of threads from unhappy owners of various wearables ranting about bug after bug, most of which are introduced through recent software updates.

Here at PiunikaWeb, we’ve also documented some of the most annoying bugs Fitbit users have had to deal with over the recent past and you can check them out here.

Since these buggy software updates came after the takeover, some Fitbit users have been quick to point a finger at Google for ruining the experience that was otherwise unbroken.

Google-Fitbit-buggy-software-1
(Source)

At this point, I feel like Google is just a scapegoat. As noted earlier, it’s only been a few months since Google took over Fitbit and hardly has the company had any time to stamp its authority on the buggy software.

Like any other major acquisition, it will take Google some time before consumers start seeing the benefits of this merger. The company is already making moves geared towards making this possible.

A few weeks ago, Google moved some of its health division staff to Fitbit, hinting at the focus Google has towards making the platform better.

We’ve also seen the increased attention that Google has been giving Wear OS, a platform that is also expected to make its way to some Fitbit devices in the near future.

Galaxy-Watch-4-Classic-inline-new
Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic

Google (Alphabet) has a reputation of buying off companies and eventually killing some of them in what many term as unfair competition practices. But with Fitbit posing no threat to Google’s wearable business, we may be in for a good treat.

However, this may require some patience as Google settles down. On the brighter side, it’s only been a few months into the acquisition, so there’s plenty of time for Google to fix the buggy Fitbit software that’s causing havoc among loyalists.

Hopefully, Google doesn’t take ages to settle, otherwise, we may start to see more people threatening to leave Fitbit in favor of other platforms.

Google-Fitbit-buggy-software
(Source)

As always, you can join in the conversation and share your thoughts via the comments section at the end. We also have a Twitter poll below that you can cast your vote, with results to be announced next week.

Update 1 (Sept 05)

The poll results are out. Half of those who voted agreed that Google will restore Fitbit back to its glory days as a leader in the wearable industry. However, nearly one third said they don’t see any future for the wearable brand.

In case you missed the poll, you can still share your thoughts by commenting in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

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Hillary Keverenge

A techy. Besides phones, I also enjoy the farm, music, football, and, of course, food.