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
(click image for larger view)
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."

Editor's Choice
Brian T. Horowitz, Contributing Reporter
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer
Brandon Taylor, Digital Editorial Program Manager
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing