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Google offers Europe more checks Fitbit data won’t be used for ads

Google has offered a second round of concessions to try to persuade European regulators to clear its acquisition of wearables maker Fitbit .

The deal has been stalled by concerns over its impact on consumer privacy and competition in the wearables market.

Last week the deadline for EU regulators to take a decision was extended for another couple of weeks — potentially pushing it out to almost the end of the year.

However a report by Reuters today claims the acquisition is set to be greenlit after the latest round of ‘commitments’ from Google — with the news agency citing ‘people familiar with the matter’.

The European Commission declined to comment on the report.

Google confirmed it has sent a new set of commitments to the European Commission — reiterating an earlier pledge not to use Fitbit health and wellness data for advertising, which it said it has now strengthened by providing for additional monitoring of the data separation requirements. 

It also said it’s committing to support third-party wearable manufacturers as part of the Android ecosystem (via Android APIs for wearable devices), and maintain third-parties’ existing access to Fitbit users’ data via APIs with user consent. 

“This deal is about devices, not data. The wearables space is highly crowded, and we believe the combination of Google and Fitbit’s hardware efforts will increase competition in the sector, benefiting consumers and making the next generation of devices better and more affordable,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

“We have been working with the European Commission on an updated approach to safeguard consumers’ expectations that Fitbit device data won’t be used for advertising.  We’re also formalizing our longstanding commitment to supporting other wearable manufacturers on Android and to continue to allow Fitbit users to connect to third party services via APIs if they want to.”

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