Thursday, October 3, 2013
Nope, not talking about a breed of cat, but, as you may have read in our September 20, 2013 blog post, a new project from Google. Calico, according to Google's September 18, 2013 press release, is "a new company focused on health and well-being." The press announcement describes the company as "focus[ing] on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases." Larry Page, CEO and co-founder of Google talked further about Calico in a September 18, 2013 post:
"Art and I are excited about tackling aging and illness. These issues affect us all—from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families. And while this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people."
The announcement spawned a number of articles...just Google it if you don't believe me (and yes, it's ironic that I told you to use Google to find out about a new Google company). (One story explains the name Calico is short for California Life Company).
Time Magazine featured this on its cover: "Can Google Solve Death" for the September 30, 2013 issue. The article written by Harry McCracken and Lev Grossman, The Audacity of Google: Larry Page & the Art of the Moon Shot (subscription required to read the article) describes the company as an effort to extend life. The article says, according to Mr. Page, that "his primary responsibility is to make sure that the entire organization errs on the side of thinking big." The article observes that "[t]he idea of treating aging as a disease rather than a mere fact of life is an old one---at least as a fantasy." The article makes an interesting point about Google's involvement in this project-as on the surface it may seem an odd fit: "Medicine is well on its way to becoming an information science....Google is very, very good with large data sets. While the company is holding its cards about Calico close to the vest, expect it to use its core data-handling skills to shed new light on familiar age-related maladies...."