It's not unusual for Fitbit to introduce new features to models years after they have been released: the fitness wearable manufacturer did exactly that when it rolled out the blood oxygen monitoring feature earlier this year to the Fitbit Charge 3, Ionic, Versa, Versa Lite, and Versa 2. Now it seems Fitbit might add Google Assistant support to the Versa 2, a smartwatch that was released nine months ago and already has a smart assistant feature, Alexa, provided by Amazon.
Google is in the process of buying Fitbit. This is making some people concerned about the vast amount of health and personal data that might end being used for no-one-knows-what by the tech giant. As a result, although Google and Fitbit have agreed to the sale, the US government has not signed off on it yet.
Let’s assume Google does end up owning Fitbit though. There’s no doubt it would like to start rolling out some of its top software offerings in Fitbit devices soon.
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As reported earlier by 9to54Google (opens in new tab), a recent software update of the Versa 2 includes lines of code that might foreshadow the arrival of Google Assistant on the fitness smartwatch. Since there is already a smart assistant included on the watch – Amazon Alexa – one might wonder: what's the point of adding another one? Is there a benefit from changing smart assistants or having two smart assistants available on the Fitbit Versa 2?
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Fitbit Versa 2 + Google Assistant: what's on the cards
One potential benefit of including Google Assistant on the Fitbit Versa 2 might be so users can choose between the two services. Currently, Fitbit devices don't support many Google products and if anything, Fitbit's ecosystem competes with Google's own. The Fitbit App is pretty much a direct competitor to Google Fit and the Fitbit Versa 2 also supports Spotify as opposed to Google Music.
By making the Fitbit Versa 2 more Google-friendly through Google Assistant, it would give users the option whether they would like to carry on using a hybrid third-party app system (Fitbit-Amazon-Spotify) or switch over to more integrated Google system (Google Fit-Assistant-Music).
Google Assistant might bring along a more hands-free voice assistant experience too. Right now, in order to activate Amazon Alexa, you either have to press the one button on the Versa 2 or navigate over to the Alexa app in the watch's menu system. Since there is a microphone on the Versa 2, Google could potentially include a 'hotword' to activate the assistant, such as "Hey, Google", so users can take notes or set reminders without having to touch the watch.
More usefully, it could allow you to start tracking a workout with a short voice command.
Fitbit Versa 2 + Google Assistant: alternative ending
There might be another ending to this story: that nothing will happen. The presence of a few lines of code doesn't mean any new features will be released anytime soon – or at all – and Google might just be testing how the code snippet works or if it can be integrated smoothly enough into the rest of the Versa 2's programming environment.
Nevertheless, it would be interesting to see what Google might do with existing or upcoming Fitbit models. For example, will future Fitbit models use Wear OS? This operating system hasn't taken over the world of fitness wearables just yet, although we've seen some interesting concepts before: the Suunto 7 uses Wear OS and has a hybrid Wear OS/Suunto App control system.