Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Google Wants To Extend Your Life

By - Source: Google | B 20 comments

Google seems to be searching for the Fountain of Youth.

What's the best way to keep your customers coming back for more? Keep them alive for a long time. Google is seemingly securing its Android user base for the long haul by establishing Calico, a new company focused on extending human life.

"Illness and aging affect all our families," said Google CEO Larry Page. "With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art -- one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation -- to take this new venture forward."

Page is referring to Calico's new CEO and founding investor Arthur Levinson, who will remain Chairman of Genentech and a director of Hoffmann-La Roche, as well as Chairman of Apple. Calico will be established in the Bay Area, not far from Google's headquarters.

"I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health," Levinson said. "Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."

Sources told TIME Magazine that Google is keeping its plans highly secretive, but will likely start with a small number of employees and initially focus on new technologies. The company is expected to use its data-processing resources to investigate age-related maladies and speed up the process from idea to solution that currently slows down the healthcare system.

"Are people really focused on the right things? One of the things I thought was amazing is that if you solve cancer, you'd add about three years to people's average life expectancy," Page told TIME. "We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that'll totally change the world. But when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it's very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it's not as big an advance as you might think."

Unlike the Google Glass project and the company's self-driving car initiative that stem from the company's secretive Google X research arm, Calico will be a completely separate entity from Google Prime. According to Page, Calico will "focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases."

"Art and I are excited about tackling aging and illness," Page said on Google Plus. "These issues affect us all—from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families.  And while this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people."

Levinson said that when he served on Google's board, he got to know Page rather well, and was "deeply intrigued" when the Google CEO and Bill Maris approached him about a venture that would take the long term view on aging and illness.

"For example, what underlies aging?" Levinson explained on Google Plus. "Might there be a direct link between certain diseases and the aging process? We agreed that with great people, a strong culture and vision and a healthy disregard for the impossible, we could make progress tackling these questions, and improving people's lives."

The company's name is actually an abbreviation for the "California Life Company," he said.

Discuss
Display all 20 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 6 Hide
    killerclick , September 23, 2013 3:57 AM
    All that private data Google has is useless when you die, so...

    I'm cool with this, just make sure rejuvenating treatments are open-source
  • -5 Hide
    djones171 , September 23, 2013 4:35 AM
    We already have many hospitals in the country searching for cures. Another small group is not going to make a difference. Considering that the government throws 3 trillion dollars at health care per year without medical breakthroughs that make a significant impact factor, they would be better off trying to make a unifying medical record system. It has already been proven that medicinal cures do not add to life expectancy as significantly as public health initiates. Even CEO's are jaded to think that we can toss more money into curing diseases when the country only needs better communication system to stop medical accidents (40,000 fatal accidents per year), chronic care plan similar to the smoking campaign for obesity, and many other public health concerns. 70% of the country is overweight, which leads to many diseases, so why not focus on upstream, midstream, and downstream plans to battle this underlying problem instead of treating the resulting symptoms or diseases...
  • 0 Hide
    RascallyWeasel , September 23, 2013 4:42 AM
    @djones171 I don't know of any country that has 70% of its population as overweight/obese.
  • 5 Hide
    michael908 , September 23, 2013 4:47 AM
    A cure for cancer is incredibly difficult to find. All the large biomedical companies will never want it to reach the public. They make significantly more money by keeping someone alive who has a terminal illness than curing them. Controlling symptoms and keeping the terminally I'll alive is where the profits are.
  • 0 Hide
    Jenome , September 23, 2013 5:24 AM
    They will probably convince u to upload ur brain data to cloud eventually so unless google go bust, u will live eternally and google cloud will sync ur brain daily. ^_^
  • -2 Hide
    Duckhunt , September 23, 2013 5:56 AM
    As usual absolute power corrupts. Here we have it. If you are rich. You should live forever and the rest of the populace should exist so you can do that. There you have it folks. Google's wet dream. Funny though, they are not the only ones who want that.
  • -1 Hide
    djones171 , September 23, 2013 6:04 AM
    @RascallyWeasel "Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.2% (2009-2010)". Found directly on the CDC website.
  • 2 Hide
    jimbo007 , September 23, 2013 6:08 AM
    Many diseases are caused by gradual decline in bodily vigor and self-restoration capability. We will prevent all kinds of sickness if we somehow prevent aging, that is keep the human regenerating itself as if it were a new-born child. Go Google!
  • 1 Hide
    widj , September 23, 2013 8:34 AM
    Vanilla sky / Abre los ojos
  • -1 Hide
    tburns1 , September 23, 2013 9:37 AM
    My idea for an awesome movie is based on Google glass, taken to the next level. Don't know why I am mentioning this, other than Google wanting to play with biosciences. How about implantable AR screens onto our eyes, speakers into our ears, and a control CPU into our scalp? Power for all three drawn from our own body heat. Now imagining a jackass hacker, hacking into you and making you see/hear things that aren't really there? And so you try to go after the hacker? Needs a lot of work, but my real question is, do you think Google might want to do that kind of AR stuff down the road (maybe 10-20 years in the furture)? I know ...I am retarded.
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , September 23, 2013 11:11 AM
    Quote:
    We already have many hospitals in the country searching for cures. Another small group is not going to make a difference. Considering that the government throws 3 trillion dollars at health care per year without medical breakthroughs that make a significant impact factor, they would be better off trying to make a unifying medical record system. It has already been proven that medicinal cures do not add to life expectancy as significantly as public health initiates. Even CEO's are jaded to think that we can toss more money into curing diseases when the country only needs better communication system to stop medical accidents (40,000 fatal accidents per year), chronic care plan similar to the smoking campaign for obesity, and many other public health concerns. 70% of the country is overweight, which leads to many diseases, so why not focus on upstream, midstream, and downstream plans to battle this underlying problem instead of treating the resulting symptoms or diseases...


  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 11:17 AM
    Quote:
    My idea for an awesome movie is based on Google glass, taken to the next level. Don't know why I am mentioning this, other than Google wanting to play with biosciences. How about implantable AR screens onto our eyes, speakers into our ears, and a control CPU into our scalp? Power for all three drawn from our own body heat. Now imagining a jackass hacker, hacking into you and making you see/hear things that aren't really there? And so you try to go after the hacker? Needs a lot of work, but my real question is, do you think Google might want to do that kind of AR stuff down the road (maybe 10-20 years in the furture)? I know ...I am retarded.


    Not so retarded... I've seen Stephen King write books on crazier ideas than this.
  • 0 Hide
    cobra5000 , September 23, 2013 11:20 AM
    It is ridiculous to state, that if others are looking for a cure, you should not? This relying on others to do things must get you far in life. If they ever do make some progress in this field, I hope you remember what you said and decline the treatment. But I doubt that would happen.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , September 23, 2013 11:26 AM
    Quote:
    It is ridiculous to state, that if others are looking for a cure, you should not? This relying on others to do things must get you far in life. If they ever do make some progress in this field, I hope you remember what you said and decline the treatment. But I doubt that would happen.


    While I don't entirely agree with the above comments, it's not quite so simple as you're describing. In a world that was built on a system of division of labour if you have someone who could be designing electronics very well spending their time/resources trying to open up a restaurant when they are neither a good cook nor a proficient business person, then you have a loss of potential productivity/creativity.

    A couple of people have said "Google would be more effective in saving lives by doing this other thing instead of this" and, if true and they saved 100 people by doing this other thing but they'll only save 10 by doing what they're doing, well, 90 more people are dead and you talking about "not taking the cure" thing is just a bunch of talk - since 90 more people will be dying because Google is doing X instead of Y. If Google wants to save lives and would be better at saving lives doing more computer stuff (making databases as described above), well, they should do that rather than enter an already crowded area with billions of dollars thrown into it.
  • 1 Hide
    sincreator , September 23, 2013 1:33 PM
    Check this out for how interested governments/investors/companies are, in actually curing cancer. This was an actual news report a few years ago in Canada. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=op8gyqm5_lw
  • 0 Hide
    Zharkov , September 23, 2013 2:02 PM
    Did no one else raise an eyebrow to the CEO of Apple, Inc. being made the CEO of Calico? Considering that Android (Google) and iOS (Apple) are major competitors, this seems... odd, I guess? I realize that Calico won't be a direct arm of Google, but it is a Google venture. Maybe I'm reading into it too much...
  • -1 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , September 23, 2013 5:13 PM
    djones171

    The information I am getting is that massively obscene amounts of money are being spent to treat people using current treatments that don't really work and almost nothing is spent to find new treatments that might actually work finally. The money is spent to look after disabled people rather than findng a cure for them so that they will no longer be disabled and will be able to take care of themselves and contribute to society instead of being a burden on it.

    To all you people saying new technology should not be created because then only the rich will get it. That has been true with all technology, and the sooner the rich get it, then the sooner the poor will get it sometime after. If the rich never get it then the poor will certainly never get it either.
  • -1 Hide
    bebangs , September 23, 2013 6:41 PM
    first thing came to my mind - Google+Life = Robocop
    seems legit ^_^

    nice to hear google doing other things aside from technologies.
  • 0 Hide
    alextheblue , September 23, 2013 8:40 PM
    Quote:
    My idea for an awesome movie is based on Google glass, taken to the next level. Don't know why I am mentioning this, other than Google wanting to play with biosciences. How about implantable AR screens onto our eyes, speakers into our ears, and a control CPU into our scalp? Power for all three drawn from our own body heat. Now imagining a jackass hacker, hacking into you and making you see/hear things that aren't really there? And so you try to go after the hacker? Needs a lot of work, but my real question is, do you think Google might want to do that kind of AR stuff down the road (maybe 10-20 years in the furture)? I know ...I am retarded.


    You should try reading some cyberpunk novels sometime. Start with the older ones.
  • 0 Hide
    Kevin Morrison , September 30, 2013 10:29 AM
    First thing to do is destroy big pharmaceuticals because until we stop thinking of ourselves like lab rats taking anything that we are told will help nothing will change. In fact I would venture to say that the meds that are shoved down our throats today are killing more than they are helping! Next is to clean up the EPA and the FDA and stop them from taking the lobbyists side because they pay well and support our farmers and ranchers to provide us good quality foods instead of these modified foods we are getting now. Want to live longer? Get back to the basics and leave the real technology to nature and you will live much longer than you will being pickled with medications. Look around and read between the lines and it will become clear we are nothing more than heavily medicated lab rats. I never thought I would say it but the zombie apocalypse may be more than just fiction!