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Google: heavy regulation makes healthcare a painful business

But Sergey Brin expects health to increase in importance for the search giant

Digital intelligenceThe heavily regulated healthcare technology environment makes it a difficult business to pursue, according to Google's two co-founders, but they remain entranced by its possibilities.

"Generally, health is just so heavily regulated. It's just a painful business to be in," Sergey Brin told technology venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, adding: "I think the regulatory burden in the US is so high that think it would dissuade a lot of entrepreneurs.

But Brin said he was very excited about Google's glucose reading contact lenses, which "should be coming along pretty well".

Google's other founder, Larry Page, singled out Calico, its ambitious project focused on health and longevity, for praise along with healthcare data.

"I am really excited about the possibility of data also, to improve health. But it's so heavily regulated. It's a difficult area," Page said.

"I do worry that we regulate ourselves out of some really great possibilities that are certainly on the data-mining end."

Health has been an increasingly focus for Google and the company last month unveiled fitness platform Google Fit along with its Android Wear software for smartwatches and other wearable devices, at its I/O developer conference in San Francisco.

The move brings Google into direct competition with Apple and its new HealthKit health data collection software, though Google was able to use its event to announce a wider range of partners for its new kit, with Adidas, Nike, Withings, Intel, and RunKeeper among those lining up. 

The first compatible watches were released by Samsung and LG, whose Gear Live and G Watch respectively made their own debut at the I/O event, showing off apps from Pinterest, Eat24 and Lyft. Of the two devices the Samsung Gear live, whose five built-in sensors include a heart rate monitor, may have the most impact in healthcare.

Last week Google expanded its Play store to add a new, dedicated section for apps for Android Wear, with the first batch including the Medisafe Meds & Pill Reminder app.

9th July 2014

From: Healthcare

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