What Do You Think About Google Health?

January 25, 2008 · 9 comments

According to VentureBeat, Google Health could be launching soon.  Check out this Google login page to get a taste of what Google Health could be about.

I’m not sure yet how I feel about this.  Well, that’s not true - I feel uncertainty as to whether it is a good thing or not.  Google is clearly becoming a destination for more than just the search page, they are looking to be your portal and a significant chunk of your day, both at work and at play.  This, I have liked to date.

But these are some of the services implied from that login page:

  • Build online health profiles that belong to you
  • Download medical records from doctors and pharmacies
  • Get personalized health guidance and relevant news
  • Find qualified doctors and connect to time-saving services
  • Share selected information with family or caregivers

Being as they own Blogger and Feedburner they have shown themselves to be very friendly towards blogs.  I suspect blog integration and directories would be a big part of this.  Since they have your health info now they presumably (obviously you would have to opt-in to this) could add that data as metadata that could be searched on.

So for example, here is a typical search right now in Google Blog Search:

All blog entries from the last month written in English with the words “weight loss”

If Google can link bloggers to data such as their weight, they could enable advanced searches like (note this obviously doesn’t return the right data right now!):

All blog entries from the last month written in English with the words “weight loss” by a man who weighs between 250 and 350 pounds.


All blog entries from the last month written in English with the words “weight loss” by a woman who has diabetes.

Privacy advocates freak out about things like this, even if it is opt-in.  Me, I can certainly see the benefits.  It’s why I wouldn’t mind at all if Amazon bought Tivo and used my Tivo viewing habits to recommend products to me on Amazon.  It is convenience for the consumer.

But I see the dark side too.  What do you think?

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Stephanie January 25, 2008 at 8:33 am

As a health freak and an online freak, it sounds like fun!

But as someone who works with doctors online, I see lots of problems with downloading patient info and sharing it with caregivers. There’s lots of room for user error from the doctor’s office end. I work with a lot of doctors and their assistants who don’t know the difference between a web page and an email address. What does Google do to support the people who are not web-savvy and make sure the correct information is going to the correct person?

Israel January 25, 2008 at 9:57 am

Interesting view on the benefits, I could certainly understand the drawbacks too.

John January 25, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Sounds like an excellent idea! Yet another great tool on the horizon for those seeking to live a healthy lifestyle.

Diana the Scale Junkie January 25, 2008 at 10:31 pm

Do you think they’ll have virtual doctors so I can self diagnose and self medicate…they can just fax the prescriptions directly to my local CVS and i’ll be quite happy thank you!!

diamond January 26, 2008 at 6:51 am

Hey John I have a tag for you, Not sure if you are a willing participant, don’t feel obligated to do it!

Skinny Guy January 26, 2008 at 10:29 am

I don’t know if it’s Big Brother we need to worry about, or all the “Little Brothers” who have been collecting our data here and there for years. I don’t know if I worry more about the data being misused by the people collecting it or by the “bad guys” who either steal the data or obtain it through the carelessness of those who are supposed to be keeping it secure.

Kyle January 26, 2008 at 10:35 pm

I see no problem. I love all things google so that pretty much helps.

Daissy January 30, 2008 at 10:26 pm

Google know very well how to expand and enlarge their business. Anyway, I believe that many advantages we can get from the Google Health. Can’t wait to see how it will be…

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