Google Health launched today in what could portend a far more personal, digital future for health-related data.
“It’s a really exciting day for us. We’re really happy to be able to offer this service to all our users,” Marissa Mayer, the Google executive overseeing the health project, said in a webcast to mark the launch.
Proponents of Google Health and Microsoft’s similar Health Vault say they could make medical data more accessible for patients, enabling them to take control of their health care. Opponents worry that putting the information online is a threat to privacy and unlikely to make much of a difference in how doctors treat their patients.
Early testers like ZDNet’s Garett Rogers weren’t shy about remarking on the limited nature of the offering. “Basically, Google Health is what I expected — an enhanced way to search for health-related material. Lots of people were hoping for a more feature-rich product (including myself) but that’s not usually how Google operates,” Rogers wrote.
Call me old-school, but I fall into the second camp. Seeing “alexis.madrigal” next to my body’s stats makes me uncomfortable. Slowly, I’m being imported into virtual space, and this creature alexis.madrigal is becoming more and more fleshed-out. Are they going to start recommending medium shirts or products based on my BMI?
I’d probably feel better about giving up this data if Google Health actually did something. Right now, I can’t imagine how I’d use the app and yet Google has managed to find a way to bring information about my body into their data-crunching fingers’ reach.
Bertalan Meskó notes on ScienceRoll, “I hope I will never get pharma ads or spams from doctors based on my Google Health profile.
Anyone want to put odds on whether Google Health information will eventually be used for targeted advertisements? Is anyone planning to use Google Health to manage the metrics and tests for your real-life avatar? I’d love to hear your stories.