What If Google Were to Save The World?

Google, which is mainly criticized for its ultra-dominant position on the Web and how it tracks Internet users, has announced new nanoparticle-based projects in the field of medicine through its Google X division. Its mission: to heal mankind. What if this e-research giant was the one to bring (a bit of) salvation to the human race?

This online research specialist and Internet hegemonic power continues to spread its tentacles throughout the Web, and has even begun to branch out of the purely Net-based universe. It has now expanded its smorgasbord of products to include connected objects—thermostats, watches, smoke detectors, etc.—to better identify consumer preferences. This may, one day, help sell its advertising. No one still knows for sure how Google is going to proceed to monetize all of these new services’ future users. For the moment, the Mountain View-based company has collected a phenomenal amount of data—today’s highly-coveted “digital gold.”

Nevertheless, Google’s prominent position in the data niche market gives it an important role in healthcare. Yesterday, the company, founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, unveiled new health care-related projects … or rather medicine-related ones. This is because it does not only entail creating an ecosystem of e-health and well-being applications, like Apple did with its Apple Kit, but creating advanced nano-diagnostic technology. In short, Google may have developed nanoparticles to facilitate diagnoses of several diseases in their very early stages. The research giant—should we even continue to call it that?—is looking for partners in this revolutionary breakthrough. Although the company says that this is still “early-stage” research, its willingness to play a part in medicine is becoming increasingly apparent.

This isn’t the first time that Google got its foot, as well as millions of dollars, in the medical door. By collecting data, the American group aspires to create a snapshot of a healthy human race. This is the aim of its “Baseline Study.” At the beginning of summer, Google also unveiled its partnership with Novartis to develop “Lens,” a connected contact lens capable of detecting and correcting certain vision impairments.

All of these projects come from its now famous Google X division, which produces all the so-called “crazy” projects: Google Glass, Google Car, etc. Sergey Brin is now increasingly committed to this division, with a clear ambition to “heal the world.” This sort of idealism isn’t surprising in Silicon Valley, where a good few wealthy entrepreneurs make the most of their millions of dollars by conducting seemingly unrealistic projects. For example, Elon Musk, founder of Paypal, among others, commercialized the Tesla car and has big plans for the space industry.

Postponing death, healing people, reducing the number of road accidents with self-driving cars, bringing Wifi connectivity to the poorest populations … How might Google be successful in areas where others have not been able to? As Laurent Alexandre, founder of Doctissimo, stated in French newspaper Les Echos, “When the directors at Google come up with an idea, they are able to get remarkable teams to work on achieving the idea. This is the principle of Google X, which has already achieved tremendous things, like the Google Car. They are highly dispersed, but they manage to achieve breakthroughs in many sectors at a time.”

Moreover, the innovation process has changed tremendously in recent years. The market’s absorption rate of innovation and new technologies is constantly increasing. The obsolescence rate is also increasing. And the major conglomerates that are still innovation-capable are doing so at a slower rate, since the groups are often tied down by their brand name, which must continue to offer quality products that are thus extensively inspected, and by their installed customer bases, which must continue to enjoy optimal service. In short, a number of other major conglomerates, the more traditional ones, have a slower innovation rate, and also take fewer risks with their profits. Google has the money, and uses it. We can only encourage it to continue to do so.

And what if the diabolical Google machine that “spies” on you when you’re on the Web, in your car, on the phone and in your house—the same machine that incidentally “sucks up” part of the value generated by other parties online—was the suffering you had to endure in order to “save the world?” In other words, what if it were through the Internet “demon,” as some call it, that the “angel” of future medicine would be able to save lives?

About this publication

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply