Google Wants To Extend Your Life

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.

  • killerclick
    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
  • djones171
    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...
  • RascallyWeasel
    @djones171 I don't know of any country that has 70% of its population as overweight/obese.
  • michael908
    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.
  • Jenome
    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. ^_^
  • Duckhunt
    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.
  • djones171
    @RascallyWeasel "Percent of adults age 20 years and over who are overweight, including obesity: 69.2% (2009-2010)". Found directly on the CDC website.
  • jimbo007
    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!
  • widj
    Vanilla sky / Abre los ojos
  • tburns1
    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.