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9/19/2013
03:42 PM
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Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans

Google invests in Calico, a new healthcare company dedicated to slowing the aging process.

Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
Google Nexus 7, Chromecast: Visual Tour
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Not only can Google get you from point A to point B, but now the search giant plans to reverse the aging process as you do it.

Google CEO Larry Page announced on Google Plus Wednesday the investment in Calico, "a new company that will focus on health and well-being."

Page said he hopes Calico can find ways to slow the aging process and extend the human lifespan. How it will do this remains to be seen, but under the leadership of former Google board member Arthur Levinson, there's potential for successful health solutions. Levinson, Calico's CEO, is the chairman and former CEO of Genentech, a biotech company, and chairman of Apple. He will remain the chairman of these companies while running Calico.

"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," Page said.

[ Too busy to see the doctor? Turn on your webcam. Read Stanford Hospital Offers Doctor Visits Via Video. ]

Page stressed the small scale of the investment in Calico.

"Please remember that new investments like this are very small by comparison to our core business," he said. This isn't the first time Google has dabbled in healthcare. The failed Google Health, an online personal health record system launched in 2008, was pulled in 2011 after Page became CEO. Right now Calico is more hype than substance, with Time Magazine's cover story, "Can Google Solve Death?"

In the article, Page suggests Calico's long-term efforts could prove more important than curing cancer.

"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 said. "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."

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TheDougStone
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TheDougStone,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2013 | 1:58:59 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
There is some interesting research that suggests that around 65 our brains go through a physiological change similar in magnitude to the development of the pre-frontal cortex at the age of 21-25. If the person is disease free they report being able to understand aspects of time that they previously were not aware of.

I consider Google's entry into this space simply as opening up the potential for more people to experience, acclimate to, and fully utilize this potential physiologically timed change in cognitive ability.

When I talk to a teenager and try to explain aspects of cause and effect I know that there is a physiological barrier to passing that understanding along. Wouldn't it be interesting if some of the fundamental workings of the universe need to be discovered by healthy 75 year old brains?
Alex Kane Rudansky
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Alex Kane Rudansky,
User Rank: Author
9/20/2013 | 2:29:40 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
I'm curious to see how this broad approach will pan out. To get answers, you need to ask the right questions, and it isn't clear what questions Calico is posing other than these hyped up "solving death" queries.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
9/20/2013 | 1:38:47 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
Main motivation: the Google Guys want to live longer.
David F. Carr
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David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
9/20/2013 | 1:30:27 AM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
Maybe the rift isn't quite as bitter or petty in the post-Jobs era?
ChrisMurphy
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ChrisMurphy,
User Rank: Author
9/19/2013 | 10:30:28 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
It sounds a bit whacky to set such a enormous goal and admit you don't know how you'll do it. It sounds like something a foundation would do more than a company. But I like it. Most of our health research is focused on what the tech industry would call "point products" -- cure this disease, replace this joint, stop this infection. This is a much broader, wellness kind of focus, a different lens for looking at what is killing us.
anon9508152970
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anon9508152970,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2013 | 10:04:35 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
The veterans of the war on aging realize that the greatest obstacle to the scientific conquest of this disease is public apathy. Death is too horrible to even think about. The arrival of Google's Calico business on the battlefield constitutes a significant show of force that may turn the tables on Father Time. If they can sway public opinion, it has been shown that radical life extension can be a reality in 25 years.

Aubrey de Grey the celebrated Biomedical Gerontologist has already figured out a way to end aging ASAP. The procedures are already mapped out. It is now a matter of focusing financial power on the appropriate projects and bringing the public up to speed in finding a cure for aging in our time.
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
9/19/2013 | 9:45:08 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
Arthur Levinson will remain chairman at Apple while running a Google-backed company? That seems unusual, given the divide between Steve Jobs and Eric Schmidt that led Schmidt to resign from Apple's board several years ago.
OtherJimDonahue
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OtherJimDonahue,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/19/2013 | 9:29:38 PM
re: Google Backs Calico To Extend Human Lifespans
If we live longer, that gives Google more time to pitch products to us.
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