Google and Apple race to healthcare

September 20, 2013

The world’s top two technology companies recently made big moves in healthcare technology that will make it easier for people to monitor fitness and chronic conditions, and perhaps live longer.

The world’s top two technology companies recently made big moves in healthcare technology that will make it easier for people to monitor fitness and chronic conditions, and perhaps live longer.

Google’s search for forever

The company known for its search engines and gadgets wants to tackle the issue of aging. Google announced on its blog that it’s launching a company called Calico (short for California Life Company) with the aim of helping people live longer through researching health, wellness, and aging-related diseases.

“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,” says Larry Page, Google chief executive officer (CEO), in a Calico announcement on Google’s blog.

The new healthcare company seems to be a joint venture between Google and Apple, because Calico’s CEO and founding investor is Apple Chairman Arthur D. Levinson. No word yet on whether the company will take advantage of Google’s massive data-mining abilities or be more biotechnologically based.

New iPhone to change the future of mHealth?

Apple’s latest versions of the iPhone 5 allow for healthcare technology developers to have a field day with its M7 coprocessor. The M7 can detect motion, so applications that monitor the running, walking, driving, and sedentary lifestyles of its users are more sensitive and can measure more accurately.

The new coprocessor can also access accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass data from the phone’s new A7 chip, without depleting battery life. After Apple’s announcement of the new technology, the Web site MobiHealthNews.com says that mobile health technology companies have the most to gain because apps can run longer and more efficiently.

“The less work a user has to do to track their fitness, the more data they will track and the more people will do fitness tracking,” Jason Jacobs, founder and CEO of the RunKeeper app told MobiHealthNews. “This will give companies like us an even bigger opportunity to help these users improve their fitness over time.”

Rumors are still swirling about Apple’s leap into wearable technology through the iWatch. The new device could be health and fitness-centered, with teams rumored to be developing software for continuous glucose monitoring.

Currently, Apple’s app store’s medical category has more than 13,000 individual apps for download. The mobile health industry is estimated to be worth $400 million by 2016, according to ABI Research. Last year, mobile users downloaded 247 million health-related apps, according to market research company Research2Guidance.