Google’s new watch is the company’s latest smart device, and our crack product review team says it’s an elegant, if simple, device.
But, of course, Google doesn’t exactly have a stellar privacy reputation. The Pixel Watch collects a wide variety of information that the company uses for advertising and other purposes. When the device collects a variety of health information, like heart rates and menstrual cycles, it’s enough to pause and think about whether you want to strap it on your body.
Location tracking: Yes
What data it collects: Name, email, phone number, address, birthday, gender, voice and audio recordings, biometric data, contacts, heart rate, movement, sleep data, menstrual cycle, health data, nearby devices, purchase information, data from connected Spotify accounts, search history, details about how you use smart home products
Can you delete the data: Yes
How the company uses the data: Advertising, sharing data with third parties, combining information with data from third parties, developing algorithms
What’s the worst that could happen with Fitbit [which operates the Pixel Watch] and all the personal and health related data it collects? Well, in 2021 it was reported that health data for over 61 million fitness tracker users, including both Fitbit and Apple, was exposed when a third-party company that allowed users to sync their health data from their fitness trackers did not secure the data properly . Personal information such as names, birthdates, weight, height, gender, and geographical location for Fitbit and other fitness-tracker users was left exposed because the company did not password protect or encrypt their database. This is a great reminder that yes, while Fitbit might do a good job with their own security, anytime you sync or share that data with anyone else including third party apps, your employer, or an insurance company, it could be vulnerable. I don I don’t know about you, but I don’t need the world to know my weight, how well I sleep, and where I live. That’s really dang creepy.