It’s been over two years since Google crashed $2.1 billion for Fitbit, but so far there hasn’t been much integration between the two companies’ products. That seems to be changing this fall. Not only will the upcoming Pixel Watch get a shiny Fitbit integration, but it looks like the rumored Fitbit Sense 2 and Versa 4 may also have some sort of Google Wallet integration.
According to 9to5Google, the latest version of Android’s Play Services is showing signs that Google Wallet — including Google Pay — is adding Fitbit smartwatch support. That includes a new menu of images that resemble a “squircle” Fitbit smartwatch. The images are also referred to as a “Fitbit Watch Illustration”. (You can see the pictures here.) It’s not clear, though, whether Google Wallet will replace Fitbit Pay entirely or whether it’s an alternative option in the way Samsung smartwatches now allow you to download Google Wallet. 9to5Google claims it could also be a way to add Google Wallet to Fitbit Pay to enable the service for older watches.
Right now, the only real connection between Fitbit and Google on the wrist is Google Assistant. Starting with the Versa 2, Alexa was the only digital assistant you could use on Fitbit devices. Then, after the Google acquisition, Fitbit later added Google Assistant as an option on the Versa 3 and Sense. That made Fitbit devices the first wearables that let you choose between two digital assistants. (You can now do the same on Samsung Galaxy smartwatches running Wear OS 3.)
Adding Google Assistant on Fitbits was an obvious choice. Alexa was already on Fitbit’s devices. There’s no way Google would allow its biggest digital assistant rival to nothing but option on one of his gadgets. However, the choice to add Google Wallet may well be the death knell for Fitbit Pay. The service has always been a bit picky. Although accepted by many banks and transit systems (at least in the United States), it is a minor player in the contactless world. And the user interface is not as smooth as Google Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.
In any case, the number of leaks related to the Sense 2 and Versa 4 would indicate that we’ll probably hear something new from Fitbit soon. We should be able to figure out more than what Fitbit’s future trajectory will look like as Google ramps up its wearable efforts. But for now, it seems that the two companies are on their way to further integration, ala Google and Nest. The real question is whether Fitbit can keep its own identity in the long run — or if we’ll see a Google Fitbit Versa 5 around this time next year.