A feature by Brandon Bailey for the San Jose Mercury News details how the biggest local tech companies are “seeing gold in new consumer health products.”
“At its annual developer conference in June, Apple introduced a new “Health” app for tracking a user’s heart rate, sleep patterns, calorie intake and other health metrics. Apple also launched “Health Kit,” an Internet platform for app developers that can store data from different devices and share it with a user’s doctor or health system. Three weeks later, Google announced its own initiative, called “Fit,” which includes developer tools and an online platform for collecting data.
Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin also have a long-standing interest in health research. Google Ventures is a longtime backer of 23andMe, the personal genetics startup led by Brin’s wife, Anne Wojcicki. While that firm has run into regulatory hurdles, Google launched a spinoff company last fall with the ambitious aim of combating “aging and associated diseases” on a cellular level.
Meanwhile, researchers at Google’s secretive X division are working on wearable medical devices, including a “smart” contact lens that monitors a wearer’s glucose level. The same team is building a database of genetic and molecular information from healthy volunteers, which they hope to analyze for useful medical knowledge.”