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March 2, 2008

More Details About Google Health

This week we found more details about Google Health, a not-yet-released service for managing personal health information. Marissa Mayer showed us some screenshots and the underlying principles of Google Health:
One of the most exciting and innovative parts of Google Health is our platform strategy. We're assembling a directory of third-party services that interoperate with Google Health. Right now, this means you'll be able to automatically import information such as your doctors' records, your prescription history, and your test results into Google Health in order to easily access and and control your data. Later, this platform strategy will mean that you will be able to interact with services and tools easily, and will be able to do things like schedule appointments, refill prescriptions, and start using new wellness tools.


Google sponsored the research of George Church, a scientist that "plans to unlock the secrets of common diseases by decoding the DNA of 100,000 people in the world's biggest gene sequencing project". Asked if Google Health could make it easy to access genetics services, Marissa Mayer said: "We have some genetic partners where we've already been making investments. Genetics is much further out, and will be done at the control and discretion of the user."

Eric Schmidt explained that the idea for launching a health service came after looking at Google Search data. "[We] looked at what do people actually do with search in terms of the volume, and the importance of health came out No. 1... We tend to think of Google Health as an extension of search."

The service is likely not to include advertising since it will encourage people to use Google Search more. Google's CEO gave Google News as an example of non-monetized service: "Every month we say to ourselves should we add ads to Google News or add more news features to Google News and every month we decide to add more Google news features. (...) A Google News user is more likely to be a Google searcher and therefore clicks on ads more."

Eric Schmidt also gave an interesting keynote speech at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference (a YouTube user comments: "As ever Eric Schmidt is knowledgeable, funny and engaging").


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