Google’s Life Sciences division is now called Verily

8 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alphabet Gets A “V” By Renaming Google Life Sciences To “Verily”.

Back in the day when Google was Google and not just another company under Alphabet Inc, it had a division called Google X, which was responsible such futuristic feats such as driverless cars and balloons that beam internet all over the world.Verily’s website discusses hardware initiatives such as a contact lens with an embedded glucose sensor, and software efforts like a multiple sclerosis research program that combines wearable sensors with traditional clinical tests.As Alphabet continues to rejigger their company structure, one of the teams left under the Alphabet umbrella has gotten itself a new moniker, according to Stat News. A Verily spokesperson said “Verily is a new company that is focused on bringing together technology, science and medicine in the places where we think we can have the biggest impact on the detection, management, and prevention of disease.” In August, Google Inc. restructured itself into the Alphabet holding company.

In it, Verily laid out a multidisciplinary approach to health and longevity, describing disease as a “continuum” that will be fought with experts from different fields and divisions working on hardware such as medical devices, software that might use algorithms to look for health patterns, as well as clinical studies like the Baseline Study of health and disease. “Imagine a chemist and an engineer and a doctor and a behavioral scientist, all working together to truly understand health and to better prevent, detect, and manage disease,” the company said on its website. “At Verily, that’s the world we want to create. The move separated its main online businesses like search, YouTube and Android from more speculative, longer-term businesses such as connected-home unit Nest, Internet service provider Fiber and health care research firm Google Life Sciences.

Our multidisciplinary teams have access to advanced research tools, large scale computing power, and unique technical expertise.” The new name for the business is part of Google’s transition to a holding company structure under the parent entity dubbed Alphabet. Google co-founder and Alphabet CEO Larry Page hopes the changes free up Google executives to focus on growing the core operations more efficiently with fewer distractions, while giving leaders of the newer businesses freedom to pursue opportunities without worrying how they affect the rest of the company.

For those rusty on their Shakespeare, “verily” is an archaic English word meaning truly or truthfully—or forsooth, if you’d like to stick to the vintage-language menu. The chief executive of Verily is Andy Conrad, a cell biologist. “Andy Conrad will continue to lead the team, reporting to a board made up of representatives from Alphabet and Verily,” said a Verily spokeswoman in an emailed statement. On one side, health data is being collected in torrents from fitness bands, connected devices like scales and blood pressure monitors, and the slow progression to better digital health records. Google plays a role here, with its Android Wear OS for smart watches, for instance, and its project with Novartis making smart contact lenses that can measures glucose levels in diabetes patients. In its launch announcement, Verily mentions a prominent role for machine learning—an AI process of combing through vast troves of data to find patterns that may lead to insights.

A textbook use of this technology is Google’s Baseline Study (already underway) to collect enough data to understand exactly what a “healthy” patient looks like in order to be able to spot, early on, the deterioration of one’s health. PatientsLikeMe, for example, is an online community in which disease sufferers seek out other people with similar symptoms, and also provide health data for analysis.

Meanwhile, Matchmaker Exchange links medical databases so that a researcher at one hospital or institution can search the databases of several linked centers at once.

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