Google jumps back into healthcare space with Calico

Search on Google for the phrase "how to live longer" and soon you may have an answer from Google itself.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company recently announced plans to launch Calico, a new firm that will try to solve healthcare's problems and extend human life, according to Google co-founder and CEO, Larry Page, who made an official announcement about the initiative on his Google+ page on Sept. 18.

"In some industries, it takes 10 or 20 years to go from an idea to something being real. Healthcare is certainly one of those ares," Page told Time. "Maybe we should shoot for the things that are really, really important so 10 or 20 years from now we have those things done."

Google is keeping most of Calico's major details a secret for now, such as its funding and employee headcount, according to Time. However, the company does predict that it likely will use its own data-processing capabilities to shed new light on "age-related maladies." Calico likely will start small and research new technologies.

John Nosta of Forbes wrote in a recent article that while he's been wary about the neverending onslaught of wearable fitness devices, Calico sparks his interest and has the possibility to change how we think about life extension.  

"The marriage of great thinking, guts, with technology, big data and genomics just may reboot the entire digital health movement," Nosta said.

This isn't Google's first jaunt into healthcare. Google Glass has proved both useful and challenging to surgeons. In early August, it was reported that in the eyes of some healthcare professionals, Glass holds promise as an innovative and effective tool in the operating room, but to others, its privacy disaster potential looms large. Meanwhile, In late June, surgeons in Spain successfully put Google Glass to the test in a chondrocyte transplant operation while U.S. experts live-consulted the procedure in real-time and it was streamed on the Internet. 

However, Google failed when it attempted a personal health record portal, Google Health, just a few years ago. The platform shut down in 2011 due to a lack of "scalability," according to Google Health Senior Product Manager Aaron Brown. 

To learn more:
- read the article in Time
- read the article in Forbes
- read Page's Google+ announcement and official Google announcement

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