Saving 100,000 Lives With Data

At the Google I/O developer summit in June, Larry Page, Google’s CEO and cofounder, said that Google isn’t currently mining healthcare data. He then went on to claim. “If we did, we’d probably save 100,000 lives a year.”

The next month, in an interview with digital health investor Vinod Khosla, Google’s other cofounder, Sergey Brin, said that he didn’t ever see Google becoming a healthcare company because it’s “just so heavily regulated.”

Whether or not they say they’re a healthcare company, the advertising giant is inextricably linked to our health experience.

From their core search offering (eight out of ten health-related queries start with Google) to their recently announced Google Baseline study (an attempt to collect “baseline” data on healthy people), to everything in-between: the failed Google Health personal health record, flu trends, Helpouts using Google Hangouts, Google Glass, glucose-sensing contact lenses, and Calico (for moonshot thinking to defy aging), Google has been venturing into health for years.

So why the hesitancy to mine healthcare data to save 100,000 lives a year?

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– Brendan Gallagher, EVP Experience Strategy & Innovation