Google Can Acquire Fitbit, But Users’ Health Data Can’t Be Used for Ads

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To appease EU regulators, Google has assured that it will not combine data obtained by Fitbit’s wearable apparatus for consumers in the area with the organization’s marketing business.

The European Commission today approved Google’s $2.1 billion agreement to obtain Fitbit with states. Google can purchase Fitbit provided that the technology giant avoids using the wearable manufacturer’s consumer health information for promotional purposes.

EU regulators have been inspecting the agreement for months over concerns that the merger could undermine the technology industry’s rivalry. The significant problem is that Google will tap Fitbit’s customer information to make more customized advertisements, providing the technology giant an even more significant advantage in the internet advertising market. The commission also emphasized Google may cut entry to Fitbit’s API for third-party programs and solutions.

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“This type of plan would come particularly in the detriment of start-ups from the European electronic health care area,” the commission stated.

By purchasing Fitbit, Google will have its hardware products in the smartwatch marketplace for the first time. But, EU regulators question if the corporation will continue to perform reasonably or attempt to undermine its rivals. “The Commission is concerned that after the trade, Google could place competing makers of wrist-worn wearable apparatus in a disadvantage by degrading their interoperability using Android smartphones,” it added.

In response, Google has committed to never blending data acquired from Fitbit’s wearable apparatus with the organization’s marketing business. The API for Fitbit will also stay open to third-party developers free of price.

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“Google will maintain a specialized separation of its applicable Fitbit’s user information. The information will be kept in a data silo’ that is different from any other Google data that’s used for advertisements,” the commission added.

Google has also pledged to keep the interoperability between Android smartphones and third-party wrist-worn apparatus undamaged. The responsibilities will only continue for a decade, but EU regulators can opt to expand Google’s”length of their Advertising Commitment” up to another 10 years if needed.

The commission noted that Fitbit includes a”restricted market share” in Europe, and other firms such as Apple, Garmin, and Samsung maintain a more robust presence in the smartwatch marketplace.

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“We are able to transcend the proposed acquisition of Fitbit from Google since the commitments will make sure that the marketplace for wearables and the nascent digital wellness space will stay open and aggressive,” said Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

It is uncertain if Google intends on producing the very same responsibilities outside the European Union. We have achieved the business for comment. US regulators are reviewing the offer.