Google is Evil, and Fitbit Sucks

Yesterday I wrote about using my Apple watch as a tool for helping me get a good night’s sleep. Now, I’m not actually an Apple guy, and I think Apple fanboyz are…weird. I just don’t get the fanatical devotion to a company.

I have an Apple phone because several years ago my sister gave me her old one to be my first cell phone. Each replacement was Apple simply because it’s easy to transfer the data, and since everyone in my family has one, I’m in the same ecosystem for sharing pics, and Facetime. Besides which, wifey and I got a smoking deal from our cell provider on new phones.

Anyway, Fitbit made their app for all smartphones, and the first year and a half it was great. I tracked my runs, my hockey games, my HIIT workouts, my sleep, everything.

And then Google bought Fitbit.

I expected things to go sideways at some point. Android devices are the direct competition to Apple devices, after all. I expected that since Fitbit was a division of Google, there’d eventually be separation, but that it would be okay, at least for a while. And, I suppose, it was, for a while I mean.

About 2, 3 months.

A Fitbit gives you the option to use your phone’s location services never, while using, or always. In order to measure my outdoor aerobics (runs, walks, bike rides, etc.) I had to use “always” for accurate distance measurements, but would default to “never” and change it for the workout.

But…if I left location services set to “always,” after a couple of days the app would warn me that it had tracked my location “X” times over the last few days, and ask if I wanted to change it.

Now, the fine folks at Google have a company motto, “Don’t be evil,” which is…amusing, considering they’re some of the most evil bastards on the planet. No, I don’t particularly want the fascist fuckwads at Google tracking my every move, so, yes, I would turn off location services. You know the bastards would collect and sell the data, right?

Shortly after the Google takeover, the location services warning started going screwy, occasionally asking me if I wanted to turn location services on. This got worse until it always as in every single fucking time I opened the app asked me to set location services to “always.” I did this once, in frustration, just to shut it the hell up.

And two, three days later, it warned me about how often it was tracking me, and did I want to turn location services off?

So, either every time I tapped the app I got it snottily telling me to turn location services to always, or every couple days I got concern trolled over whether I wanted it to constantly track me.

Raising a Concern

So I went to the Fitbit community forum and put up a post raising the concern. There were a lot of replies that this was happening to others, and a moderator came in to suggest a complete shut down, removal of the app, restarting the phone, and loading the app up fresh. Which I did.

To no avail.

I went back to the forum to tell the rest of the story, and give them a warning. I, very politely, told them that if they didn’t stop annoying me, and refused to give me the option to not be tracked, that when my battery died, my use of Fitbit was going in the trash with the dead wrist tracker.

March 2021

In March of last year, as we were approaching fiscal year end I had a problem. My employer provides an annual wellness bonus, which expires on March 31st and the problem I had was, normally I put it against my yoga membership. The yoga membership to the studio the pricks in Ottawa and Toronto forced to close.

I had nothing I could thick of to spend it on. Until one day in the office my buddy “D” showed me his brand spanking new Apple watch, that he used the wellness bonus on.

Goodbye Fitbit.

I spent a couple of days researching the prices and options, and went out and bought me a shiny new toy. Mostly paid for by the company.

A little after that, when I got an email notification about more comments on the thread I started in the Fitbit community, I went in to take a peek. Sure enough, more, and more people were getting pissed off about the location services problem. Enough that the community moderators raised the issue up to Fitbit itself.

Being a helpful fellow, I posted new comment with my absolutely guaranteed method to make the problem go away. For some reason, the mods took my comment down, really, Really, REALLY fast.

I don’t know why. Trashing their watch, and deleting their buggy POS app worked an absolute charm for me, and after all, I was just trying to help.

Anyway, here we are, 10 months later and I’m STILL getting email notifications from that thread I started. Sadly, no-one can see my solution because the pukefaced moderators deleted it.

But the end result is, they’ve lost 5 customers, because there is NO WAY IN HELL I’m going to give them another nickel. Not for me, my wife, or any of my kids. That’s a lot of lost sales to turn me, NOT an Apple guy, into a permanent Apple watch user.

Because the thing just works, integrates beautifully with my phone, and does not piss me off every time I open the app.