Alphabet tapped former U.S. Food and Drug Administrator commissioner Robert M. Califf to oversee its health policies and strategies in late September. Now Google’s parent has reportedly made an offer to acquire Fitbit, the health and fitness smartwatch.
“There is no certainty that the negotiations between Google and Fitbit will lead to any deal,” sources told Reuters, which reported that it's not clear how much Google offered for Fitbit’s business.
Sources also told CNBC that Alphabet made a bid.
Big tech -- specifically Google and its parent Alphabet -- is already seated deep in health care.
Google created Verily -- a company developed in 2015 out of the Google X business unit at Alphabet -- to make the world’s health data useful, according to the Verily's website. The company develops tools and devices to collect, organize and use data to prevent and detect disease earlier.
Last week, the company announced partnerships with the Veterans Administration Palo Alto Healthcare System (VAPAHCS) and Atrius Health to build tools aimed at optimizing care delivery. The partnerships leverage Verily’s experience in data, analytics, behavioral activation and product development to improve the value of care.
Even before Verily, Google introduced Calico, a company focused on health and well-being and on the challenges of aging and associated diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Arthur Levinson -- chairman and former CEO of Genentech, and Chairman of Apple -- stepped in as the founding CEO and a founding investor, where he remains today.
The Google Fit app can provide a complete view of the user’s health to track progress. These include Lifesum, Wear OS by Google, Nike+, Runkeeper, Strava, MyFitnessPal, Lifesum, Basis, Sleep as Android, Withings, Xiaomi Mi bands, and more.
Google has technology called Wear OS that syncs with other wearables, but doesn’t have any of its own. Its biggest competitor in the space, Apple, outpaces the services in wearables and health applications.
Apple Health automatically counts steps like a pedometer, and records distances from walks and runs. Connected to the Apple Watch, it automatically tracks Activity data.
Fitbit Plus already syncs with Google Fit, which allows for data to be imported into the app.