Here’s what Fitbit ‘by Google’ is planning next
The Fitbit blog mainly consists of fitness and wellness guides and lists, but a new post (opens in new tab) covers what we can expect in the next few years, now that it’s firmly in the stable of Google-owned companies.
“Now that our expertise in health and fitness is backed by Google’s innovation in AI, software, and hardware, we know there will be changes in the future,” the post — credited simply to Fitbit Staff, reads.
The most interesting things are in the early research phase, rather than something you can expect to see on a theoretical Fitbit Charge 6, Versa 5 or Fitbit smart ring, however.
“We’re continuing to drive research around new sensors and experiences, and are using Google’s work on artificial intelligence and leading technologies to develop more advanced features that can help with serious health conditions,” the post explains, highlighting the recent addition of Irregular Heart Rhythm Notifications.
“And now that we’re combining our machine learning with Google’s, we’re able to do even more — like delivering Fitbit’s most accurate heart rate tracking yet on the new Pixel Watch.”
In the here and now, Fitbit says that its Google ownership allows for more competitively priced products, which is a plus in its mission to “democratize health and fitness”.
“One of our key focus areas is continuing to develop high-quality wearables that cost less — like Inspire 3, which we launched in August,” the company writes.
Though it’s worth remembering that at $99, the Fitbit Inspire 3 is far from the most affordable option in our list of the best cheap fitness trackers, with competitors starting at a quarter of the price.
Accessibility is also about wider availability, and here Fitbit has plans afoot. “As we move into the future, Fitbit will be available on more devices, including connected home devices, TVs, and phones,” the post reads.
The ability to cast your workouts via Chromecast is coming and highlighted once again here. But this suggests a deeper integration with Google TV — something previously reported as coming by Protocol (opens in new tab), which predicted that real-time heart rate and calorie data will appear along big-screen workouts.
The integration with other Google services is already happening, of course, with Fitbit once again highlighting the imminent arrival of Google Maps and Google Wallet on the Versa 4 and Sense 2. The company claims this is an objectively good thing: “At Google, it’s not about making things just to make them,” the post reads. “It’s about making things that truly help.”
This makes the omission of Google Assistant from the Versa 4 and Sense 2 — one of a series of odd cutbacks between generations (opens in new tab) — all the more curious. While Google’s AI helper was present on the first-generation Sense and Versa 3, it’s missing on the newer models, with Amazon’s Alexa the only option. Perhaps this is a sign that it will eventually return — if not for the current generation of devices, then maybe for the next.
“For these reasons and more, Fitbit and Google are better together,” the post concludes. “And we’re just scratching the surface of the health and wellness experiences we can bring to the world.
“Whether you’ve been with us since the beginning or joining us for the first time: thank you. We’re honored to be on the journey with you.”