Marrisa Mayer, taking over the Google Health initiative from Adam Bosworth, who recently left the company, announced at the Web 2.0 conference yesterday that people could “expect a lot of activity in the coming months,” ahead of an early 2008 launch.
According to InformationWeek, covering the interview:
Speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mayer outlined the ways in which the search giant plans to bring its immense data storage and organization capacities to the field of medical care and patient records. Google is already the starting point for a large majority of the health-related searches on the Web, she pointed out.
Microsoft recently launched HealthVault, which aims to do similar things and has a head start.
The greatest challenges that Google and Microsoft both face are gaining consumer trust and safeguarding privacy. Many are skeptical of Google now that it has become arguably the Internet’s most powerful company. That kind of position carries a burden to go the extra mile regarding privacy. And given what might be called the “adversarial culture” of US health care, with insurance carriers looking to deny or exclude coverage at every turn, the fears of unauthorized access or (even inadvertent) release of personal records and the corresponding exploitation or abuse of that information are quite legitimate.
These companies will have to go more than a few extra miles to win over consumers and provide privacy safeguards that are all but watertight. What Google Might Do in Health, also from InformationWeek, covers 10 things Mayer joked that Google would not do, such as “Google paternity search.” :)