Google and Fitbit: A Data Play?

We learned not long ago that Google is acquiring Fitbit. It’s easy to see why.

Data and users may sound like the main consideration for this deal, but there is more at play. 

Hardware meets software

Over the last several years, Google has shown its appetite to increase hardware offerings. The idea is that consumers are attached to their gadgets and creating detailed transactions in such devices. Products such as Nest, Google Pixel (mobiles) show the promise of hardware for Google. Combined with Google Assistant software, it becomes clear how data from such devices can influence behavior or empower you with new information or new actions. 

Expanding hardware – wearables

It is no secret that Google plans on bolstering its presence in wearables – notably smart watches. According to the FT, the deal for Fitbit is an attempt by Google to catch up with the Apple Watch by buying a consumer wearables company. 

This allows the company to expand into the wearables category while feeding it algorithms from search and products that it’s famous for.

Healthcare Play

Yet, before the Fitbit acquisition, it wasn’t clear how this all aligns specifically to healthcare for Google especially considering public knowledge of the company’s laser focus on Google Cloud B2B offerings. 

Notwithstanding, moonshot research projects in diabetes and kidney disease prediction via Verily, it was still years out with a go to market product. 

With B2C in the company’s DNA, it was in dire need of a healthcare product already in the market. As such Fitbit fits the bill – a wearable product, direct to consumer, ability to integrate existing software ie Google Assistant, captive user base and an enterprise customer base that includes rich insurance payers and government entities who manage millions of consumers.