Unraveling the Mysteries of Well-being: A Journey with the FITBIT in Focus

On a planet that seems to be tilting more and more towards health fetishisation, obsessively tracking your fitness performance is fast becoming a lifestyle norm for many. Against this backdrop, the rise of the Fitbit became the stuff of myths and legends, and for a while, it carved a niche for itself in a crowded tech universe. But then along came Google, who like a Trojan horse brought the Fitzilla on board, only to crush it when they abruptly shut down the web app a couple of months later.

A Tale of Tech Evolution: The Interplay Between FITBIT and Google

Fitbit’s acquisition by Google in 2021 seemed at the time to signify a future in which two tech giants in their own right would combine their efforts to push the envelope of wearables. Already, the healthiness of our tech served as a counter to the lack of healthiness in our lives – but combining the Google tech ecosystem with Fitbit’s health-inviting innovations seemed destined to trigger mass adoption of devices that would pay back in improved wellbeing. Recently, however, the Fitbit operation has bounced tech ethics and the very meaning of ‘user friendliness’ into a new, complex, conversation.

The Web App Conundrum: A Bold Move or a Step Back?

In a world where diversification of access points is often treated as a virtue, it is highly significant that the decision to retire the Fitbit web dashboard is an all-in bet on a specific seamless interaction of users and data that is highly mobile, highly personal and, to a significant degree, willing to be monetised. While the redesign did provide a ‘glanceable’ widget that linked to the mobile app, it reduced the Fitbit.com home page to glorified splash screen, whose extensive menu items – from settings to rewards to store – simply redirect one to the mobile app. In July 2024, the web dashboard will be removed entirely, shifting users to an experience that is mobile-first and mobile-only, with a couple of enriching but also limiting features.

Missing the Big Picture: The Implications of Narrowing Access

The change from a web to an app-only front-end raises some important questions about the inclusiveness of technology. Without a web dashboard, users have no way to reflect on their activity data on a larger screen, and no way to interact with their data in the same way as before. The Fitbit app is still a powerful, data-intensive app, but the shuttering of the web app nonetheless symbolised the end of an era of holistic health and fitness tracking, one where the desktop is still a vital tool for users.

User Sentiment and Competitor Landscape: A Call for Reflection

The response from the Fitbit community has been one of concern, and a certain amount of alarm. Many users have complained about being closed out from access channels. They’ve pointed out shortcomings in the app compared with the web dashboard. And they’ve had an opportunity to look at the wider market, where rivals such as Garmin and Apple have chosen to maintain a path that is more respectful of users’ desires to access data from multiple different entry points.

Google’s Strategy: Innovation or Isolation?

Google’s pattern of gradually cancelling features from Fitbit after acquiring it has sparked a discussion over what tech mergers mean for product development. Cutting out features such as Google Assistant support and the social element, and moving away from a web interface, is this process guided by innovation, or by introversion?

The Road Ahead: A Sustainable Path for FITBIT?

The big questions now concern what Google will do with Fitbit. Will the rollbacks be reinstated? Can Fitbit reclaim a unique identity that combines innovation and inclusion? We’ll just have to wait and see how history judges one of the leading innovators of a transformative period.


At heart, Fitbit stands as a synergy between technology and lifestyle that promotes greater physical well-being and awareness. Originally created around the belief of ‘helping people lead healthier, more active lives by empowering them with data, inspiration, and guidance to reach their goals’, Fitbit’s suite of products has expanded the field of fitness-tracking through technological advancements in measuring the wearer’s steps, sleep, and heart rate. Despite the keen criticisms and seemingly damning evidence, Fitbit has managed to maintain its status as an indispensable tool for millions around the world. While it remains the bane of many a clinical trial, it remains the darling of millions.

When you look at the path of Fitbit as it’s grown and, in particular, since Google became its owner, don’t lose sight of what Fitbit was when it first entered your home. Keep on innovating, keep on improving the experience, but don’t back off from your core mission to make the world healthier through technology.

Jun 13, 2024
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