Google is taking on one of the toughest challenges of life, aging, with the new company, Calico, announced last Wednesday. The internet and tech giant that enhances the lives of millions of people with its internet-based services, grants, wearable technology and more, now ventures into the health area.
Larry Page, Google CEO, asked his subscribers on Google+ not to be surprised that Google started to “invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with [the company’s] existing Internet businesses.” He also added that the new investment was very small compared to the spending within the core business, so there was no fear that Google would quit the tech market and start a “medical career.”
While Mr. Page listed the problems that relate to the aging—ranging from “the decreased mobility and mental agility… to life-threatening diseases that exact a physical and emotional toll on individuals and families“—he hadn’t commented on what exactly the company would be engaged in as a researcher or developer. According to Tech Crunch, the goal of the initiative is “increasing the lifespan of people born 20 years ago by as much as 100 years.”
The venture will be headed by a visionary from Apple. Art Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, has been appointed chief executive officer and a founding investor. With this, Mr. Levinson will remain a chairman of Genentech, a director of Hoffmann-La Roche, as well as chairman of Apple.
“Illness and aging affect all our families. 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,” commented Larry Page to the press.
Google’s already come close to the health and science domain. In 2008, the company launched Google Health, a personal health information centralization service, which was closed in 2011. Earlier this year, Google’s Sergey Brin along with other tech billionaires founded the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.