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Google's Bosworth

By - December 01, 2006

180Px-Adam Bosworth

Adam Bosworth made a lot of waves when he joined Google, given his background in highly ambitious OS and database projects at Microsoft and BEA. For a brief while, his every utterance on his personal blog caused fibrillations across the industry as we all speculated that Adam was going to run Google’s answer to Microsoft Hailstorm/Vista/Windows.

But a funny thing happened. Adam stopped posting on his blog, and Google got a bit cranky when asked about the whole OS thing, and even crankier when asked about Adam’s blog.

Now, Adam’s re-emerged, with a new mission: Health. More from his posting, his official posting, I should say, on the Google Blog:

Patients also need to be able to better coordinate and manage their own health information. We believe that patients should control and own their own health information, and should be able to do so easily. Today it is much too difficult to get access to one’s health records, for example, because of the substantial administrative obstacles people have to go through and the many places they have to go to collect it all. Compare this to financial information, which is much more available from the various institutions that help manage your financial “health.” We believe our industry should help solve this problem.

As the Internet increasingly helps link communities of people, we also think there is an opportunity to connect people with similar health interests, concerns and problems. Today, people too often don’t know that others like them even exist, let alone how to find them. The industry should help there, too.

These are some of the health-related problems we’re thinking through at Google.

I completely agree that health information is a huge problem to be addressed, and I’m pleased as can be that someone as smart as Adam has stepped up to lead the charge at Google. But I wonder where this is really going to go. Google loves to bite off problems that are extremely hard to chew – Books comes to mind – but this one might prove undigestable for all sorts of reasons. Number one to my mind is the clusterf*ck that is information rights. Strikes me Google might attempt to address that issue first, which might clear the way for all sorts of progress, in health, certainly, but in consumer rights as well.