Just when we thought Google was taking a step back from healthcare, after its unsuccessful foray into personal health records with “Google Health” was all but bust, the Internet giant pulled a ‘Gotcha!’ and declared it’s back.
In a press release on September 18, Google announced Calico, a new health company whose main focus will be combating aging and related disease. Not satisfied with running the show online, it seems, Google now wants to play God and extend human life.
Arthur D. Levinson, who is (and will remain) a Chairman of Apple, a Chairman of Genetech and a director of Hoffman-LaRoche, has been tasked with leading this ambitious goal as CEO.
The details surrounding Calico and what exactly the company is going to do are still hazy – and Google’s mostly keeping mum about the project. They didn’t say how much they were planning on investing in the venture or whether it would lead to any new products or other offshoots. Google did, however, provide this nugget of a statement from Larry Page, its CEO:
“Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”
If you’ve read that five times over trying to decipher what healthcare tricks Google might have up their sleeve, don’t bother. Until the Internet mogul decides it wants to let us know what the real deal is, everything is just a blind guess. And knowing Google, whatever crazy guesses any one of us is able to come up with won’t be nearly as amazing as the truth (or so we hope).
With the type of financial power Google has behind it, it has the potential to do a lot of good – and healthcare is an industry that could really benefit from the giant’s investments. John Deutsch, President/CEO of Medical Web Experts, remains skeptical. “Healthcare is not an easy business, and the odds are stacked against Google,” says Deutsch. “There’s no shortage of large corporations that have tried their luck (and failed) in electronic medical records, patient portals, telemedicine and wellness.”
Only time will tell whether Google’s gamble will pay off or be destined to see the same fate as Google Health. What do you think – does Google have any business crossing over into the healthcare sector? Will it succeed this time around?