Google is collecting health data for its revolutionary new genetic study

Google is collecting health data for its revolutionary new genetic study

Google’s got a big new project and it’s you. Well, not just you, but a genetic and molecular study of humanity that aims to grasp at what a healthy human should be. It’s in its early days, collecting anonymous data from 175 people, but it plans to expand to thousands later.

The project is headed up by molecular biologist Andrew Conrad, who pioneered cheap HIV tests for blood-plasma donations. According to the WSJ, the team at Google X current numbers between 70 and 100, encompassing experts in physiology, biochemistry, optics, imaging and molecular biology.

In the study, which will eventually be expanded to thousands of participants, Google X’s Dr. Andrew Conrad and a team of as many as 100 scientists in varying fields will collect anonymous molecular and genetic data in order to determine the idea traits of a healthy individual. These samples will come in the form of tissue, tears, urine, and more which will be collected this summer.

The Baseline project will apparently take in hundreds of different samples, with Google using its information processing talents to expose biomarkers and other patterns – the optimistic result hopefully being faster ways of diagnosing diseases. Biomarkers has typically been used with late-stage diseases, as these studies have typically used already-sick patients.

“He gets that this is not a software project that will be done in one or two years,” said Dr. Sam Gambhir, who is working with Dr. Conrad on the project. “We used to talk about curing cancer and doing this in a few years. We’ve learned to not say those things anymore.” Information from the project will remain anonymous: Google said that data won’t be shared with insurance companies, but the shadow of privacy issues hang over pretty much anything the company touches.

Baseline started this summer, initially collecting fluids such as urine, blood, saliva and tears from the anonymous guinea pigs. Tissue samples will be taken later. “With any complex system, the notion has always been there to proactively address problems,” Dr. Conrad said. “That’s not revolutionary. We are just asking the question: If we really wanted to be proactive, what would we need to know? You need to know what the fixed, well-running thing should look like.”

Dr. Conrad expects medicine will be improved by the mountains of new information that can now be collected. This fits with Google’s original mission of organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, he said. “We shouldn’t put a slash through our mission statement and say that health care is excluded,” Dr. Conrad added. Read more about the story here.



Could Google Stock hit $2000?

Google Stock

It’s pretty impossible to conceive, isn’t it. How could any tech stock triple in price in less than two years when it’s at that level. Sure, stocks jump up by over 200% in much shorter periods of time, but not when they’re already over $1000. It’s not possible, right?

Actually, in the case of Google, their current projects could do more damage than just $2000. That could be shooting themselves short. You see, they made it where they are today through their core businesses: search, mobile, and advertising. Those are small compared to some of their other endeavors including health, energy, and connectivity.

Don’t be surprised to see them end 2014 with a value more than double their already-gigantic stock value.

According to The Street:

The game really changes, however, when one of those infamous Google side projects turns into another massive revenue generator distinct from search and advertising. If that ever comes to, $2,000 might be a conservative price prediction.

Read More: The Street

For YouTube-Only Users, Google has Failed


Google has always wanted to be the center of the online universe. They’ve recently wanted to become the center of the offline world as well, but that’s a different story. Their latest move towards online domination comes at the price of its own users and they aren’t taking it very well.

YouTube has remained independent of Google proper for a long time. The switch to make them a full Google property started in 2011 when they started requiring Gmail accounts in order to access all of the features of YouTube. This was an annoyance but it was only the beginning to the bigger play which they just unveiled in the last month and a half.

Now, Google+ accounts are required in order to get the full scope of features, including commenting. If this surprises people, that’s because they didn’t understand the goals of the company. They aren’t interested in how funny your comments are. They’re only interested in your activities and the best way to control monitor those activities is through their social network. Now, if you want to play, you have to pay in the form of personal tracking and data.

This makes many YouTube-only users unhappy. In essence, Google sucked them in and now it has failed them by forcing something onto something that they didn’t really want. Don’t expect Google to change it back, either. This is their path. It’s been their path since before Larry Page took over the day-to-day operations of the company. It’s not going to change any time soon.

According to Guardian Express:

For the first time in eight years, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has spoken out against Google’s updates to the website. Instead of uploading a video, Karim merely posted a passive aggressive question to his personal account:

“Why the **** do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?”

Read More: Guardian Express

A More Efficient Aircraft Carrier Was Christened Today

Ford Aircraft Carrier

It’s big. It’s powerful. It’s fast. It’s efficient. The newest line of aircraft carriers in the US military is being christened today in a ceremony that will lock in the next generation of mobile air and sea superiority for the United States.

The USS Gerald R Ford represents a shift towards quality over bulk for the US Navy. It is able to launch 25% more aircraft from its deck and can run with a smaller crew than others in the fleet.

According to the Christian Science Monitor:

The USS Gerald R. Ford is the lead ship in the Navy’s next class of aircraft carriers. It was christened Saturday at the Newport News shipyard where it was built.

Read More: Christian Science Monitor

In Sickness and In More Sickness: Healthcare Booms in Good or Bad Economy


Nothing says “job security” like working in an industry that everyone needs regardless of their money situation. Healthcare has not only avoided the dreaded recession, it has been the focus of US government initiatives to increase its size and scope.

A recent study shows that there may be over 500,000 additional nurse positions available by 2018, over twice as much as the second highest growing profession (accountants and auditors). As long as there’s sickness, there’s always going to be a need for people to make us better.

This infographic by our friends at Course Hero breaks down medical as well as other arenas and compares the differences between college graduates and those who enter the workforce early. Common sense (and our mothers) tells us that getting a college degree makes sense, but just as there will always be nurses, there will always be statistics telling us to go to school.

[Read more...]

The Middle East Domino Effect

Tunisia is already yesterday’s news, but the effects will be felt for months and years. It isn’t just in the small country itself, but rather the effects that the successful regime-change will have on the area in general.

This graphic by The Visual News puts it nicely into perspective for us as this tumultuous landscape of political upheaval that has reigned as a state of being in the region for centuries appears to be hitting a tipping point fueled by both technological advances (particularly in communication) as well as the increasing boldness of the people who are now more empowered than ever before.

[Read more...]

Blackberry: Good Enough For Obama but Not for Kids

Blackberry for KidsPresident Obama is perhaps the most famous executive addicted to his Blackberry, but there’s someone who has stumped RIM’s creators or the Blackberry.  After 25 years catering to high demand industries and 3 years going after the general public, RIM seems to have missed a major demographic.

“Are you going to make a phone more for kids so that my Mom will let me get one?”

At Tuesday’s shareholders’ meeting in Toronto, a child in the audience left RIM’s Co-Chiefs stumbling for a proper response to the simple question.

Mike Lazaridis, after pausing uncomfortably to find the right response, said, “There’s lots of opportunity and, you know, if the current BlackBerries aren’t acceptable to your mother, hopefully the next ones will.” [Read more...]