Within 10 minutes Mayer was talking about housing the petabytes of digitized X-rays generated every year and Google's role in allowing individuals to store, search, and share their own medical records. Could Google have saved the thousands of medical records destroyed in Hurricane Katrina?
Mayer's polished presentation addressed the "hard problems" present in the area of health records. Difficult problems motivate engineers, and Google certainly has a lot of talented engineers seeking solutions to hard problems. Given some time, I'm sure Google could provide an elegant and useable solution.
But should it? This is a problem that seems best out of the hands of a company that makes its money primarily from advertising. The difference between knowing I searched for ways to minimize suffering from allergies and knowing what allergies I have as well as my blood tests, X-rays, etc. Do I get ads for Claritin while I'm using Google?
Portable and accessible medical records carry a great deal of value. Is this a project for the government to take on? I'd like to think so, but I'm not all that confident it would do a good job.
If this were just a technical problem, I'd say go for it, Google. But, I'm in no rush to upload my medical data on to my iGoogle account.