It appears that Google is still working on removing Fitbit’s functions. Over the past few weeks, there have been reports about Google’s handling of Fitbit. Unfortunately, the company is not so keen on Fitbit, it is cutting down more features on Fitbit. According to reports, the Fitbit program will no longer have all challenges, games, and the option to join open groups from March 27th.
Members of Fitbit got an email this morning with the following message
We’re working hard behind the scenes to enhance the Fitbit app with Google technology this year. This evolution will enable us to develop new features, deliver faster load times and improve your experience. And ultimately, ensure Fitbit helps you live a healthier, more active lifestyle. To deliver these improvements we will be streamlining areas of the Fitbit app and the following features will be removed on Android and iOS as of March 27, 2023
• Open groups will no longer be available – but you can still create a closed group with your friends and connect with other users in the Fitbit Community on our Health & Wellness forums.
• All Challenges and Adventures, including trophies, will no longer be available.
We’ll continue to update the Fitbit app and develop new features that create an even better experience over time. If you’d like to download your data from these features before it’s deleted on March 27th, visit fitbit.com/settings/data/export to log in to your fitbit.com dashboard
Why is Google stripping Fitbit?
Google did not give any official reason for striping Fitbit naked. However, there are speculations that Google may want to move Fitbit to WearOS. Given that the Google Pixel Watch also supports the bulk of the features offered by Fitbit trackers, it’s feasible that Google wishes to integrate Fitbit into WearOS in the long run. Even if that’s the case, leaving customers with devices that have fewer features than what they were told is not a wise choice. They won’t profit from fresher gadgets that might ostensibly provide a different answer, after all. Fitbits can no longer be synced with PCs, making a mobile phone practically necessary for the devices to function. You can also no longer sync your own MP3s with them.
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More features are going down
Users are presently being informed by Google that the ability to download audio from Pandora and Deezer will be gone on March 31, 2023. You won’t be able to view previously transferred content after that date, and you won’t be able to copy music from these sites for offline pleasure. The official Deezer and Pandora apps, which are necessary for the offline feature, will be taken down from Fitbit’s third-party app store, according to two help pages.
The Sense 2 and Versa 4 wearables from Fitbit don’t support Deezer or Pandora downloads. The lack of support for third-party apps on these new watches, which was a selling feature of their forebears, is actually a major letdown. The issue of whether other third-party apps are here to stay or if Google is moving to remove third-party app support from all of its Fitbit devices continues after the removal of the Deezer and Pandora apps from the Sense as well as the Versa 2 and 3.
Fitbit’s Wear OS wearables have never been as good as many of their great rivals or even the Apple Watch. The issue seems to have grown worse after Google bought the firm. For instance, the Sense 2 and Versa 4, the two most recent Fitbit watches, no longer support any kind of local music playing. Regrettably, with the removal of Deezer and Pandora’s support, their forebears are now also totally missing this ability.
Fitbit is now “empty”
For those who routinely use and pay for these features through Fitbit Premium, this is a big deal. Although I’ve never used the Open Groups/Community section of the Fitbit program, many users have used them to find guidance and support. The games and challenges that Google is removing are quite basic and have not been improved in a while. However, it is better to have these old features than an “empty” Fitbit.
Also, the Fitbit Ace 3, which is made for kids, loses one of its finest features. There is not much else the Fitbit Ace 3 provides. This is because there are no longer any exercise games or challenges. Of course, if your kids like to count their steps, it may still have some use after all.
The reality that Google also degraded the newly launched FitBit Sense 2 and Versa 4 makes everything worse. Google deleted music playback, the ability to use third-party apps, and even Google Assistant from those smartwatches. We can only hope that this is the last time Google will destroy Fitbit and that they will start to introduce new features to make up for what they have taken away.
Google is facing a lot at the moment and the company seem to be unstable. After Microsoft beat it to ChatGPT, former staff of the company revealed some of the instabilities within Google. Some ex-staff claim that Google makes many bad decisions internally and this is not helping the company. At least three of the key figures in the development team of ChatGPT were former employees of Google. Hopefully, stripping Fitbit is not another bad call by Google.
In all of these, it is important to note that Deezer is still promoting its service with Fitbits. In fact, it is still offering Fitbit users a free sample. The ability to stream audio through your Fitbit would not become available right away if you sign up. Pandora has not yet made any mention of Fitbit closure on any of its support pages.