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”.

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. That’s not the intro to a joke, but to Verily—formerly Google Life Sciences—a serious, interdisciplinary effort to use data to better identify signs of health and disease. The website that now sits at verily.com asks the simple question: When Google[x] embarked on a project in 2012 to put computing inside a contact lens — an immensely challenging technical problem with an important application to health — we could not have imagined where it would lead us. 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.

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. 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.

Patients Like Me, 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. It’s unclear yet how Verily will add to or compete with these efforts, though Google Life Sciences already had established major partnerships with institutions like Stanford and Duke universities.

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