Google Promises To Exclude Fitbit Data From Ads

My running workouts have been harder, slower and more worrying. My Fitbit tells me so. I believe ... some of it.

Maybe it’s heat, getting older, or the lack of inspiring music. (I still have Kurt Rosenwinkel, Julian Lage and XTC to keep me going). Good news. There is no advertising on my Fitbit, not that I would have time to read it.

But that’s not the real worry for many with Google lurking around. The big digital media company announced it was buying the fitness company last November -- a deal subject to U.S. and European regulatory approval.

The worry is Google will use Fitbit data to target me with advertising -- sending display, email, YouTube video or social media advertising. A message about hiring a good running coach would be a good start.

The European Commission is so worried about this that Google is pledging to exclude Fitbit data from any advertising purpose to get in the EC's good graces.



But that would go against history. Google is all about the data.

By way of comparison, TV networks don’t target me with group fitness classes or new modern jazz guitarists. And, as far as I can tell, they haven’t targeted me with addressable advertising. (I do get lots of traditional pharmaceutical advertising associated with no conditions I have.)

All this comes as Google and other digital media companies attempt to adjust to growing demands by consumers not to use their data to target them with digital media advertising. (We speak mostly about gradual abandonment of web browser cookies.)

When interviewing senior executives at Peloton many years ago, I asked if, in taking one of its virtual classes, could I hide my key fitness measures: heart rate, cadence, speed, and power (wattage)? I was told, sure. No problem.

Currently, while Fitbit tells me a fitness story, it is incomplete. Does that work in my favor? On more than a number of runs, it will show my time (around an hour), the number of steps (around 10,000), and my heart rate (average 140 to 150 bpm).

But mysteriously, it also shows I’ve run 0.00 miles.

So, go ahead, Google. Take my data. I’ll welcome your advertising for my virtual sedentary lifestyle. Use what’s left of your cookies -- digital and/or nutritional.

As far as you might be concerned, I’m going nowhere. 

1 comment about "Google Promises To Exclude Fitbit Data From Ads".
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  1. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, July 22, 2020 at 2:46 p.m.

    Wayne: Try some Kenny Burrell...!

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