Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Health's Lifeline Runs Out

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the when-that-lining-isnt-silver dept.

Cloud 196

turing0 writes "As a former bioinformatics researcher and CTO I have some sad news to start 2012 with. Though I am sure not a surprise to the Slashdot crowd, it appears we — or our demographic — made up more than 75% of the Google Health userbase. Today marks the end of Google Health. (Also see this post for the official Google announcement and lame excuse for the reasoning behind this myopic decision.) The decision of Google to end this excellent service is a fantastic example of what can represent the downside of cloud services for individuals and enterprises. The cloud is great when and while your desired application is present — assuming it's secure and robust — but you are at the mercy of the provider for longevity." (Read more, below.)turing0 continues: "I am surprised to see Google abandoning Google Health just when we can see the benefit to personal health when micro sensors such as the Nike Plus and Jawbone's UP bracelet are entering the market. Greater amounts of personal health data can be gathered now via smartphone and then turned into valuable preventative as well as useful diagnostic medical information.

Shuttering Google Health is a surprising and short-sighted decision on Google's behalf, IMHO. Perhaps closing the Google Health service is not 'Evil' per se — but given the immense magnitude of financial resources at Google I cannot believe Google Health will make a decimal place of impact on Google's operating costs. Services like Google Health are a fantastic public relations tool as well as an amazing potential source of raw scientific data if nothing else.

In closing, it's very funny to note Google suggests Google Health users migrate GH data to the Microsoft Health Vault. Hopefully some Web service other than Health Vault will rise from the ashes of Google Health. The real benefit in terms of Google being a custodian of my health and wellness records via Google Health was that Google as a corporation is considered a trustworthy intermediary by most users and health care professionals. Now I am not so sure; perhaps it's time to re-claim my email ..."

cancel ×

196 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558076)

That's why they are abandoning all these non-profitable things and focusing on the stuff that brings in the money: social (Google+), managed by Vic Gundotra and Android, lead by Andy "Hypocrite" Rubin.

--
There is a new arrogant asshole [mailto] in town!

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (5, Insightful)

SharkLaser (2495316) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558142)

That also means that everyone loses trust in Google's services. They just seem to cancel anything anytime they want. There was an earlier discussion about Native Client. Who's to say Google won't just drop it? Even Microsoft offers very specific end-of-lifecycle dates and they're always several years in to the future. With every version, too!

I won't be trusting Google's services to stay up, and hence won't be using them either. I only use the ones I can afford to end randomly, like search and youtube.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558362)

Native client is slightly different. It's open source code, which is available online and could be forked if Google stopped their contributions to the project.

Google Health on the other hand isn't open source and runs as a service on their servers. So pulling the plug really does pull the plug, and no code or data is freely available so it can't be forked.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558372)

Google gave plenty of notice of the EOL of this service, and it's chief problem was that there was no sponsorship and nobody willing to pay for the service. Google was an unneeded middleman if health records, better records are collected by doctors, pharmacies, hospitals, and other health professionals.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558654)

It would have been nice if they would have released the source code for the service under some sort of open license. There's definitely a need for a service like that, it's just a question of whether it makes any sense for Google to provide it or not. I'm sure there are plenty of organizations that would have been willing to adopt it for their own use.

hoarded (4, Interesting)

r00t (33219) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559696)

records are hoarded by doctors, pharmacies, hospitals

It's offensive how this works. Take my X-rays for example. My surgeon sent me some place to get them done. He's the one with a clue; they just take pictures. Despite this, they insist on having me wait for some on-staff radiologist to "interpret" the X-rays. They claim state law requires this. (if so, surely because they lobbied for it) Then I'm not allowed to truly own the images, physically or by copyright, and neither is my surgeon. (again by state law, which they surely lobbied for) I'm allowed to borrow the X-rays, taking them to my surgeon so he can see them. I'm sternly warned that I'm violating some law if I don't bring them back. WTF, is somebody covering the storage costs? Fortunately I didn't see a due date, so I'm still "borrowing" my own damn X-rays a decade later and I don't remember who the "owner" is. If I had foolishly been a good boy and returned them, I'd currently have no possible way to access them. The X-rays would be gone, preventing future surgeons from being able to compare them with newer X-rays or being able to make an initial guess before ordering new X-rays.

The same goes for the dentist. IMHO, it's a racket to encourage repeat business. Come back to us, or you suffer extra X-ray exposure and it won't even be covered by your insurance.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (5, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558380)

Even Microsoft offers very specific end-of-lifecycle dates and they're always several years in to the future. With every version, too!

With Microsoft, you're the customer. With Google, you're the product.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558666)

Why don't you say that correlation is not causation while you're repeating catch phrases of low value.

Google isn't selling people, they're selling access to a small amount of screen real estate that they hope you'll look at. All this absurd Google's selling people BS really needs to stop because it's completely unhelpful.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558754)

And yet you affirmed exactly what the GP said.

Are you a Google fanboy or employee?

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (0)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559670)

No, I didn't affirm what the GGP said. I'm not an employee and I'm not a fanboy. I'm just a fan of people making factually correct statements.

Google doesn't guarantee that any particular individual will see the ads, nor do they sell information they gather. Additionally, they don't force people to see the ads, just because they're up doesn't mean that a person will scroll down or click on the links.

The sorts of bullshit comments that the GGP posted aren't particularly helpful as they bare little to no resemblance to reality.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558774)

Google isn't selling people.

Microsoft makes most of their money selling things for which end users, be they businesses or individuals, pay real money. Microsoft Office, Xbox, stuff like that. Their customers are their users. Microsoft's aggressive activity is generally aimed at competitors.

Google sells ads, and information about and access to their users. Google's customers are almost entirely (94% of revenue) advertisers. Google's aggressive activity is aimed at their users. When Microsoft got into serious legal trouble, it was over their behavior towards competitors. When Google got into serious legal trouble, it was about their behavior towards users. See the DOJ non-prosecution agreement in the pharmacy case. [googlemonitor.com]

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38559576)

Google sells... information about and access to their users.

i wish people would stop with the misleading FUD. Google does not sell information about Animats, Google sells information about the demographic subgroups that Animats might happen to belong to, but the customer (business advertising departments) do not get Animats' information.

if they did, my job (PI) would be a shit-ton easier. i wish they did.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559660)

Citation necessary. Google sells ad space, they do not sell information about users, which is definitely something to keep in mind. They do not guarantee that users will read the ads nor do they guarantee that the ads will even be seen by anybody.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (4, Insightful)

Kalriath (849904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559708)

No, you're wrong there. Google sells access (for advertisers) to an extremely large pool of people whom use Google services. Google does not sell anything to that pool of people. While it might be slightly disingenuous to say that the pool of people is the product, they most certainly are not the customers.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (5, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558466)

That also means that everyone loses trust in Google's free services.

There, fixed that for you.

Seriously - did turing0 like this "excellent" service enough to be willing to pay for it? If so, did he ever write Google and suggest it move to a for-fee model? After all, we had quite a bit of warning this was going to happen.

Reading the rest of turing0's post, though... it's obvious what he wants is for Google to continue to provide this service at no cost to himself - "given the immense magnitude of financial resources at Google I cannot believe Google Health will make a decimal place of impact on Google's operating costs."

Heck, I'd be irritated if Google decided to discontinue Gmail - but I'd recognize it's their right to do so, given I'm not paying a dime for it (directly, anyway - and I don't believe Google Health could be contextual-ad-supported in the same way, what with FIPAA and all).

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558710)

Why not offer it up for a fee first? If the product is worth the money people will use it. Why should he expect the service for anything other then free? What products do they charge for? I was paying for google earth for the extras included but then they stopped that service and just continued with the free Google Earth. No Google is clearly untrustable at anything other then advertising and search.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

eneville (745111) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558512)

They just seem to cancel anything anytime they want. There was an earlier discussion about Native Client. Who's to say Google won't just drop it? Even Microsoft offers very specific end-of-lifecycle dates and they're always several years in to the future. With every version, too!

They're free to cancel anything they want, whenever they want. It's their service that you're not paying for.

I won't be trusting Google's services to stay up, and hence won't be using them either. I only use the ones I can afford to end randomly, like search and youtube.

I don't trust any provider. All web/mail etc is hosted by myself. If you want a job doing properly, do it yourself.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559484)

I don't trust any provider. All web/mail etc is hosted by myself

So, how are those peering agreements with Level3 et all going? Or do you use someone else's ISP?

The key to using this stuff is not to roll your own, it's to turn them into commodity parts. If your ISP shuts you down, you can simply contract with another - the "tubes" are interchangeable.

Likewise, if my Gmail or LDHosting accounts close, I'm only down for the time it takes to copy the data from backups and update the DNS records.

The key thing is to interface with standards (IMAP, SFTP, etc) and not with proprietary protocols and APIs that can't be easily replaced.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558716)

http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/update-on-google-health-and-google.html

"6/24/2011 11:01:00 AM
In the coming months, we’re going to retire two products that didn’t catch on the way we would have hoped, but did serve as influential models: Google Health (retiring January 1, 2012; data available for download through January 1, 2013)"

EOL dates a pretty clear here.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (2, Insightful)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558190)

This is not unlike when they canceled Firefly, a few geeks are devastated, hardly anyone else notices.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558220)

no great loss as regards firefly

Why do people love Firefly? (0)

F69631 (2421974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558346)

I recently watched a few episodes, just to see what it was about. I love both scifi and steampunk, so I should be the target audience for a space western like that. It was... OK, I guess. The acting and writing were mediocre (A bit too many cliches, etc. but tolerable) and the special effects were OK (when taking into account the budget constraints they probably had). The setting itself was nice, though there wasn't that much originality if you're already well familiar with the genre. Really, it was on par with Farscape: I wouldn't change the channel when it's on but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it to a friend.

So I found myself wondering... why do some people love it so much? Is there some specific aspect of the show that they consider well made or what?

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558400)

Never underestimate the power of teen masturbation.

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558426)

So I found myself wondering... why do some people love it so much? Is there some specific aspect of the show that they consider well made or what?

Nah, we just really want to have a new show to rally around and identify with (like "Star Trek" once was). Its merits or lack thereof are irrelevant; It's just that is was there, not totally crap, and on prime-time TV...

Re:Always leave them wanting more. (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558632)

I found the writing quite amusing at times, and the rest of it was good enough that I am willing to sit through it to get to the good bits.

More on topic, when a series (or product or service) is removed people will generally feel a sense of loss. If there is no similar replacement, people will tend to remember the good parts, forget the bad parts, and want to relive those halcyon days when it existed.

When something outlives its shelf life, people get used to it not being so good, and its loss isn't as much of an impact. "They should have killed it earlier" is something I read a lot.

A highly rated restaurant will often give you enough food to be sated, but no so much that you are stuffed, so that you want to come back. The widely bashed "gourmet" portion sizes, where you appear to pay a lot for relatively little, is intended to whet your appetite for future visits in the same way a cancelled series makes people look forward to a "next installment" which never arrives.

It's quite simply the negative side of "Always leave them wanting more."

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558650)

Is there some specific aspect of the show that they consider well made or what?

I, for one, loved the sets, they felt quite cozy. But that's just me.

Also, seeing that you called the acting and writing mediocre, I stipulate that you have no soul.

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (2)

hedwards (940851) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558692)

Most likely that means it wasn't for you. I've been watching a lot of shows lately that were canceled or otherwise ended early. The State, The Tick, Brisco County, Dilbert etc., and they were good shows that for one reason or another only lasted for a season or two worth of shows. The problem ultimately is that it's hard to say at what point a show should be canceled. It's easy to assume that they'll continue indefinitely when much of the time they don't, you end up with a show like The Simpsons or Family Guy that continues past the point of being funny and becomes kind of a drudge to watch, if you even bother.

Services are largely the same way, sometimes Google cancels them before anybody knows what they're for, like wave, and other times they let them go too long. I get the feeling that health was probably a matter of the latter.

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558922)

I liked Summer Glau's portrayal of a sensitive damaged girl with subconsciously trained fighting or psychic abilities that would kick in at random times. I also liked Sarah Conner Chronicles because I liked watching her as a terminator.

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (1)

Angostura (703910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559398)

You say that the writing was mediocre, I'd argue that it was actually very good. The episodes did vary, however and followed an arc, so I suppose if you only saw a couple, you might not have seen it at its best.

Re:Why do people love Firefly? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559494)

Agreed, but on the other hand, I find that's true for almost all SF TV shows.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558528)

There is something suspect about this phrase in the summary:

...it appears we -- or our demographic -- made up more than 75% of the Google Health userbase.

Why is that? Are you all self-absorbed Lysol-huffing hypochondriacs who need to be told to put down the Cheetoes and get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day?

Preventative care is common sense. If something really bad pops up, having health insurance, not Google Health, is what's gonna save your ass.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38559300)

You have to be incredibly stupid to give Google all your health information. Which explains why the slashdot demographic is all over it.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559544)

No, it's because our demographic is the only one who heard of the product.

Re:Google needs to focus on a few products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558734)

They also canceled google Linux search, they are under new managemrpent

Google's lack of focus (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558082)

Another day, another Google service bites the dust. At this rate, they're set to outdo Microsoft in the number of obsoleted APIs and services that they use to pull the rug out from under people. And why shouldn't they? We're not the customers. Advertisers are, and if a service isn't helping Google's advertisers, they're not interested in keeping it around.

Apple Troll With Multiple Accounts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558424)

You would have thought this pathetic troll would have gotten the clue and given up wasting his time creating multiple accounts to mod up his foaming at the mouth anti-Google tirades.

Go back to AppleInsider with the rest of the Apple crazies crying over the ass kicking Google is dishing out to your piece of shit iPhone.

Re:Apple Troll With Multiple Accounts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558592)

kill yourself you piece of shit. he's telling the truth.

Re:Apple Troll With Multiple Accounts (1, Offtopic)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559094)

Damn right he is.

Re:Apple Troll With Multiple Accounts (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559104)

Go to Hell, Google lackey. He has made a valid point (unlike you).

Re:Google's lack of focus (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558624)

Well, Google can't sell you for much if they know you are going to die in a couple of weeks...other than to sugar-pill-vending "we can fix any ailment you have" companies.

Re:Google's lack of focus (4, Insightful)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559714)

Had you actually heard about Google Health before today? Be honest.

And if you had, what would your level of interest be in handing over your health records to google?

Thats why this cancellation is really not any surprise at all.

New to me (5, Insightful)

crawforc3 (2450856) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558086)

This is the first time I've heard of Google Health.

Re:New to me (1)

1s44c (552956) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558122)

This is the first time I've heard of Google Health.

Same here. I'm wondering how many other services google offer that we don't know about.

Re:New to me (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558250)

And how many they've cancelled without the majority of internet users finding out

Re:New to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558540)

And how many they've cancelled without the majority of internet users finding out

GOOG-411, bitch. You used to be able to call Google's phone number and be able to converse with a computer to get your search results.They disconected the phone number, but you can still "voice search" from your android phone which uses data instead of minutes. Hmm.

At least microsoft still has BING-411

Re:New to me (0)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558598)

They could not figure out how to convince your heart to terrify you into using the products of they ads they'd send to your heart so they're just going to let your heart wither and die all alone in the vastness of meat that is you.

Re:New to me (4, Interesting)

imp7 (714746) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559034)

When I was working for a pharmacy chain back in 2007/08ish, and I got to see a presentation on Google Heath at a conference. Our software provider was partnering with Google to import all your prescription information into Google Health in real time. At the time the idea of being able to have several different pharmacies, doctor offices, and hospitals put your information into a central "electronic health record" was being pushed by Obama's campaign to lower health care costs and save lives. There was money to be had.

Of course this would be an extremely valuable service for Google, but medical industry is very powerful and clouded by federal laws. As we move forward, electronic health records are still right around the corner and someone will make all the money. I doubt there will be more then one private entity storing your data, but then again it could be like Medicare D and you have to choose from 20+ companies.

(By the way, the presentation on Google Health was the best and most professional presentation I've ever seen. They hire pros for real.)

not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558104)

The health marke it is extreeeeeeemly fickle. They jump at every electronic fad that comes along (I know I used to work in this area). One day they are willing to drop 200k on something the next they will not take your call because they have a better toy.

I have seen doctors spend 150k on a system. Then be willing to only buy the cheapest black and white monitor they can buy that they will use every day because it costs 2 dollars less than a color one.

So google figured it out. This area hemoreges money when no one wants to pay for it. But everyone wants it...

Re:not surprising (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558214)

The health market is almost entirely database-driven: it's all medical records of one sort or another. Patient charts, billing codes, etc: it's just databases. The database end is complex due to absurdly complicated standards, but also because systems have proprietary data stores that don't talk to other systems well. The worst part, though, is the user interfaces: most industries have UI's that don't suck, but health never seemed to get this right. The database engineers have been designing the UI's forever.

There's a brilliant market here for someone with the vision to combine Apple-quality system integration and UI with a narrow focus on the healthcare industry. Whoever does it is going to sell their product for cheaps to a bunch of doctors and become a defacto standard.

Re:not surprising (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558628)

The health market is almost entirely database-driven: it's all medical records of one sort or another. Patient charts, billing codes, etc: it's just databases. The database end is complex due to absurdly complicated standards, but also because systems have proprietary data stores that don't talk to other systems well. The worst part, though, is the user interfaces: most industries have UI's that don't suck, but health never seemed to get this right. The database engineers have been designing the UI's forever.

There's a brilliant market here for someone with the vision to combine Apple-quality system integration and UI with a narrow focus on the healthcare industry. Whoever does it is going to sell their product for cheaps to a bunch of doctors and become a defacto standard.

You're largely correct but the biggest problem is that even at an Enterprise level, it is a cottage industry. Everyone has different processes. What works well for one system is an absolute disaster in another. Hell, what works on one floor of a hospital doesn't work on another.

It's very frustrating.

Elaborate hack-upon-hack syndrome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38559032)

One of the reasons the apps between the database and user are so obtuse in healthcare is that they are trying to satisfy a baroque set of regulations and best practices about what information to present at what time. Much like the tax code, the medical environment is saddled by a management process that just keeps adding special cases and exceptions rather than formulating a clear, concise rule set.

Actually, a lot of this problem is larger than just the database systems... The entire healthcare space is driven by a cover-your-ass mentality that accumulates layer upon layer of best practices which are as much about shielding liability as they are about being effective. Or, rather, shielding of liability seems to be an awfully large component of what defines effectiveness in our litigious era.

Hippa (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558106)

How can goolge even have some like that under hippa laws much less sell ad's based on data in it.

Re:Hippa (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558124)

HIPPA doesn't apply to information you give hem.

Re:Hippa (4, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558374)

It is "HIPAA", not "HIPPA", and yes it most certainly DOES apply to information you give to a company :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protected_health_information [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hippa (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558410)

See "covered entity":
https://www.cms.gov/HIPAAGenInfo/06_AreYouaCoveredEntity.asp

Re:Hippa (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558488)

Very good point!
But just about any entity that deals with Medicare is a covered entity. And if even one of those covered entities submits PHI to Google, directly, then they would have to obtain a "HIPAA Business Associate" contract with Google.

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/businessassociates.html [hhs.gov]

Which doesn't make Google a covered entity, but does start to throw heavy responsibility and possible regulations their way. Of course, as with lots of HIPAA stuff, it is open to interpretation. That said, I am sure Google had an army of lawyers looking at this stuff.

But I did want to directly refute the original poster- it doesn't matter if the company you are dealing with generated the information. Even information YOU supply to them (a covered entity, or one under a business associate agreement) becomes PHI (protected health information).

Re:Hippa (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558570)

Maybe I should have put a [sic] after HIPPA since that's how the original post had it.

Either way:
- a health care provider that conducts certain transactions in electronic form (called here a "covered health care provider").
- a health care clearinghouse.
- a health plan.

Which one of those is Google? If a reporter comes to my hospital and asks the doctors "Does he have cancer?" it would be a violation of HIPAA to give them the answer.

If I ran down the hallway screaming "I have cancer! I have cancer!" It would not be a violation for any of those people to spread the word. Same goes for Myspace, Facebook, or in this case, Google.

Re:Hippa (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558146)

Only because people are silly and stupid and provide information freely without knowing the downside of doing so. This project by Google should never have been started in the first place by Google. While there are benefits to gathering information this wasn't it.

Re:Hippa (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558392)

Perhaps if you knew what HIPAA was (starting with how to spell it) you might understand the many ways it doesn't apply to Google Health.

I wanted it, signed up for it... (1)

coolate (1173457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558128)

But I never really used it, so as bad as I feel to see it go, to be honest, I had no real need for it. Maybe later it will be reborn....

Re:I wanted it, signed up for it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558494)

Yes, I had signed up too. In my case, I was hoping it would be a good place to store and analyze my treadmill runs and other workouts. But, it really wasn't targeted at that. In fact, I couldn't figure out any use for it so my account just sat there unused. Google has sent me several emails about the upcoming shutdown, so they certainly gave lots of warning. But I still don't know what the service was actually supposed to help me with.

Just pay more (2)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558138)

I'm sure Google would be willing to keep the service running if you were willing to pay for it.
 

Re:Just pay more (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38559228)

God damn, this!

What the hell is with ditching services entirely?
I would actually pay to keep services alive.

I can't wait for the P2P age. To hell with the cloud. A solid P2P network where people can set up services with even more ease than we do now (Tor) will be so much better than this crappy age of the internet.

Companies so big are extremely unpredictable (2)

Wabbble (2542552) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558164)

The load of money they have moving contains quite a few secrets which together make everything, very, very unpredictable. They tell us one thing and do other. Call me paranoid, but keep an eye out for any low-profit services that you use because you never really know when they are going to be shut down. Whether a huge company running it or not.

Tech-savvy people less valuable to Google? (4, Insightful)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558168)

One way of interpreting the decision is that Google is finding it hard to make money off tech-savvy people (who probably use adblockers and can tell the difference between sponsored links and actual search results, etc).

They give you a year to get your data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558176)

In several different standard formats, not just presentation formats like PDF (which wouldn't have been very useful). Have to give them credit for that.

Re:They give you a year to get your data (1)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558206)

No kidding. I've gotten 3 emails in the last week telling me to export my data or lose it.

Lack of Impact (4, Insightful)

sirdude (578412) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558218)

Quoting http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/update-on-google-health-and-google.html [blogspot.com] :

In the end, while we weren’t able to create the impact we wanted with Google Health, we hope it has raised the visibility of the role of the empowered consumer in their own care.

Considering the fact that I - somebody who in many ways spends more time on the Internet than off it - have not heard about this interesting service until today, I seriously doubt that the problem is that there haven't been enough takers. Yes, it sounds a touch megalomaniacal. But my conclusion is that Google has simply just not raised awareness about this product. With the amount of faeces being thrown all over the interwebz for other products such as Google Plus, I dare say that a small fraction of the resources expended could have saved initiatives such as Google Health from flatlining ...

Re:Lack of Impact (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558314)

other products such as Google Plus

From what little I've found, it looks like G+ could adsorb google health and keep on going? Much like contacts and profiles and blogger and latitude and probably other stuff have kind of merged in.

I'd be careful, though, with which circles get which posts. Maybe the mighty goog is rolling out tagged data, like data input as medical records can only be read by people tagged as medical professionals...

Re:Lack of Impact (3, Interesting)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559648)

I seriously doubt that the problem is that there haven't been enough takers. Yes, it sounds a touch megalomaniacal. But my conclusion is that Google has simply just not raised awareness about this product.

As a former user of the service, I'm actually not that surprised.

Out of all the health services I was personally using, the only service that reliably plugged into it was my Walgreens pharmacy. Of course, my doctor could have used it himself, but I didn't even ask. Ever since I've migrated to the US from France, I've given up asking non-French doctors to fill out my medical blue book (my medical blue book contains all the medical records I've had since I was a baby, I do not know if they still use it in France now, but I love having all my medical information summarized and centralized in one thing that I actually have control over).

For me Google Health was just like a big empty spreadsheet that I needed to fill out manually (except for my medication information which could get automatically imported from my pharmacy). I just didn't see any immediate pay off in taking the time of entering that data in it. May be, if I ever have a kid, it might be cool to start keeping something like that from the very first day of his birth (or even sooner, by recording the prenatal care the mother is given), to later give it to him for his information, but for me personally, it just isn't worth it unless my insurance or my doctor's office started participating in it as well (otherwise, I'd just end up duplicating a lot of information manually without a real reason for it otherwise, or just start using something like Excel/Google Docs instead).

Small reference pool (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558260)

It's just that not enough people are sick.

Was it "mint" for health? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558300)

So I've heard google health described in the past as pretty much mint.com but for health records instead of finance records.

1) Is that even remotely close?

2) What is the goog equivalent of mint.com WRT finance?

I could see if goog isn't going to compete with mint in the finance aggregation arena, and obviously GH is flushed, so maybe they are not interesting in being in the general aggregation market?

A side question, since supposedly there are /. readers who used GH, could you specify what actionable items you'd done with G.H.? Not what data they want or you gave, not their business model, not theoretically this and that, but what actual actionable things happened? I'm thinking in terms of impact on my life, I'm not missing much with the end of GH.

A close side question is I can't figure out on line how a PHR makes money, other than vendor lockin tied with corporate contracts. Follow the money! Are they selling records, deep in the fine print, or selling statistical/demographic data, or spamming ads, or ...

Re:Was it "mint" for health? (1)

stevedog (1867864) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558642)

That last question is probably exactly why it closed. Remember that Health came out quite some time ago, back before Google's recent series of privacy fiascos. They probably thought they'd be able to get away with completely anonymizing the data (even more so than with search) then using it for ads. After all the Buzz, wifi-gathering, etc., though, legal probably gave that a big "hell no." With the original business model killed, maybe they were hoping they would get vendors that would pay to plug data into or pull data out of Health once it got some momentum (or maybe this was the original plan all along), or maybe hoped hospitals would want to use it in an enterprise, Google Apps kind of way... but nobody significant really took the bait. Either way, as others have pointed out, whatever the plan for ultimately monetizing this was, clearly it didn't work out. I agree, though, with the general sentiment: a universal PHR would've been a great step forward in health IT, and it is very sad to see one of the most promising prospects for that fade to blak. If you've worked in health IT at all, you know that this is a field that desperately needs a breath of fresh air.

Eh? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558324)

Had never heard of it (despite using a lot of Labs stuff).
Nobody I asked had ever heard of it.
Wouldn't use it if I had.
Nobody I asked would have used if it they had.
Nothing that can't be replicated elsewhere, by the look of it.

You can bias the summary as much as you like and call it a myopic decision but I'd much rather they spent the money on something I'm likely to use or see being used at least.

If an ENTIRE Google service can pass myself, and others just as technical, by until its closure then it's quite obvious that it wasn't as good as you thought it was.

Suggesting that I tie in data-recording bracelets and god-knows-what into Google as a business model is just stupid before you even start, too, and its potential as diagnostician is about as good as Wii Fit, I imagine (and if it isn't, probably leads into all sorts of legal implications).

If you want your raw scientific data, then gather it scientifically, not letting Google get spammed with it and then expecting them to pay. Do your research, collect your own fecking data (it's not like you couldn't) and set up a similar and better service if you think it's so useful. Personally, without looking, I think either a) 200 such things already exist and are never used or b) you'd be the first and still it'd never be used.

P.S. Never heard of Microsoft Health Vault either but as far as I'm concerned they can piss all their money away on whatever gimmicks they like - that's what they've always done.

The Cloud prevents user control (2)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558342)

Web-based services (aka, 'Cloud' services) are convenient and have a lot of advantages (which I won't repeat here unless asked).

One big thing is that the server-side has all the control. I find this great for me as a service provider. This is one reason companies love providing these services.

However, as a user of various services I realise I have no control. If the services I rely on were to disappear tomorrow there is nothing I can do about it and I'm totally powerless to stop it. The service provided may even be profitable for a provider but if it is not proftable *enough*, or there are cost cutting mesures being done by corporate head-office then the service can be axed. Even if the service is critcal to my business

So the lesson to be learned is the same point made by the Free Software advocates. If software is critical to yourself or your business then you must ensure you have complete *control* of the software, all the way down to having the right to modify the source code if you need to. The convience of web-based services will never compensate for the loss of control. It is a strategic business decision to make: control (the long-term strategic view) or convenience (the short-term tactical view). I fully expect lots of sob stories like this to appear until the vendors start pitching back to CIOs that they could regain control by bringing stuff in-house again (for a fee, of course). Using Cloud services is no different to the 'offshoring' fad that the wise avoided for critical capabilities, followed by the realision that it doesn't always work and the resulting 'onshoring' renormalization. Expect a term like 'in-housing' or something similar to appear in trade rags in a couple of years.

Whatever you do: don't lose control of your critical software and services (and use Free Software!).

There is no good substitute (3, Interesting)

alfrin (858861) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558352)

I've been an avid user of Google Health for a couple years now. Since the decision to end the service was announced, I've attempted numerous times to find some sense of replacement from HealthVault. HealthVault is a great service, but its hardly equivalent. For instance, HealthVault is merely a storage system for your raw data, and to view it or continue to keep track of it, you have to utilize other services (such as through the Mayo Clinic) with which HV interfaces to manage. It has a lot of possibility, in that you can utilize many specialized services from many different places, however it fails at keeping the experience seemless. You always know that you are leaving to a new site, and often times go through redundant logins and registrations.

Google Health however kept everything restricted to a couple pages. Your blood pressure measurements, weights and other vitals were displayed in concise graphs The greatest strength of Google Health was its stripped down visuals and your ability to create your own trackers for virtually any metric. I used it to keep track of my migraine headaches in hopes of finding a trend which would reveal possible triggers. Some of the services, such as the Mayo Clinic's personal health manager, which use HealthVault offer similar customization, but they are very stripped down, the interfaces are clunky and, once again, it takes an annoying amount of log-in's and desperate clicking to get into the service.

I wish Google would just release the source, so that someone else could construct their own version. I for one would. I loved it.

Downside of not paying for something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558354)

Paying for something is a way of voting for what one wants the provider/producer to make more of (which is why I cheerfully pay for movies and other media which I like). I guess that the downside of 'free' is losing your right to so vote.

HealthAdSense (2)

markdavis (642305) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558358)

The concept of Google having any access to health information is frightening, to say the least. They already have way too much information about way too many things for way too many of us, already.

I have a feeling I am not alone in this feeling about the Google overlords and this might have contributed to the non-popularity of Google Health. And no, I wouldn't want to give health information to Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or Microsoft either!

I am amazed regarding the postings here of people who have never heard of it. But for those people, Wikipedia is your friend:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_health [wikipedia.org]

Google being stupid, again - more to the story? (0)

kcwhitta (232438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558402)

Yet another stupid move by Google. At this rate, Apple is going to win hands-down with Facebook coming up behind them. Gotta wonder what's really going on.

Re:Google being stupid, again - more to the story? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558524)

There is an apple health and Facebook health?

doesn't say a thing about cloud services (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558520)

Turing0, how much were you paying for your Google Health? what service guarantee did you get for your paid contract with them? Oh, $0 and nothing. Quit your whining, so a free trial balloon was cancelled, pony up some bucks for an equivalent service with a vendor and then you'll have a right to complain about service or lack thereof.

Not just the cloud (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558572)

This isn't specific to the cloud. This is one of the risks when you put anything crucial to the existence of your business completely in the hands of a single other entity. It could be as basic as having a sole source for a part that you have to have available to manufacture your product. If that supplier goes out of business or discontinues that part, you're SOL. And since you don't have any control over them, you can't do anything about the situation. Your only recourse is what every businessman has known for centuries: make sure you always have more than one source for any critical supplies and items. That's also why businesses had warehouses, so if there was any interruption in their supply stream it wouldn't shut them down while they sorted out how to get their supplies and raw materials delivered. The cloud's just another case of this. If you base your entire business on a service provided by a single company, you're at the mercy of their business plan (or lack thereof). A smart businessman would insure he could get the same service from at least 2 sources, so if one of them shut down he'd still be in business and have time to figure out what to do next.

Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558594)

Seriously. I never recommend to my customers that they rely on "cloud services". In the last year or so, even Amazon and other services have gone down, taking innumerable websites offline for unpredictable amounts of time.

Just recently, an Amazon server went down, and a customer was notified that their site was down and that they had 48 hours to save the site or it would be gone... and they received the notice about 24 hours after that 48 hours had already expired.

Other people I know have had other, similar experiences.

My advice to customers is: DO NOT make your business dependent on the performance of "services" over which your have no control. You are putting all your eggs in someone else's basket, and that's just plain a Bad Idea. And that includes everything from depending on Google Apps to sites on EC2.

I'll pass, thanks very much.

Re:Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (0)

arse maker (1058608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558986)

Because if you own the server it can never go down?

Re:Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (1)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559164)

Not capriciously on purpose, genius. Not unless the USER WANTS to take it down or it fails.

Re:Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559182)

No. Don't be ridiculous. That's not what I stated at all.

Because it's not your server, and you are completely at the mercy of some other company.

If your server goes down, you can do something about it. You can decide what your priorities are, and act accordingly. If somebody else's server goes down, they decide what their priorities are, and you may not be among them.

For example: I know of a site that is served from the Amazon "cloud", requires a Yahoo login, and its email, which is essential to the site's operation, goes through gmail. In addition, it uses several javascript files, also essential to its operation, which are loaded from remote servers.

If any ONE of those services go down, so does the site. Or at least a major part of it.

It's a dumb way to build an application.

Re:Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (1)

froggymana (1896008) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559214)

Because if you own the server it can never go down?

At least you can control it and have it fixed/replaced. Good luck getting cloud services provided by Google or Amazon back up once they have determined not to support them anymore and to take them off of the "cloud".

Re:Why Cloud Services are Not Recommended (1)

codepunk (167897) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559368)

It is called disaster recovery and just because you are running on a cloud providers infrastructure does not eliminate the requirement.

My advice to customers is to plan for failure recovery just as you would if running in house.

Personal Health Records (4, Insightful)

kuhneng (241514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558664)

Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault's personal health records (PHRs) are well known in health IT circles, but even among the health IT and healthcare informatics professionals I work with, uptake has been very shallow. There have been connected PHR-enabled sensors available for weight, blood pressure, blood glucose, and many other biometrics for some time, but again, very little interest in flowing this data into stand alone PHRs.

Stand alone PHRs aren't the only way to facilitate doctor-patient interaction. Many leading electronic medical records systems (EMRs) offer integrated personal health records - the disadvantage being that these records only show the data from one provider or health care system. Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) are rapidly springing up across the country to facilitate provider to provider data integration and provide a compelling model for direct patient participation in their care.

Personally, I've tracked these services for years but I've never bothered to create an account. Entering my information manually is tedious, and the standards and integration between EMRs and stand-along PHRs is emerging at best. If I had a fully populated PHR, it's not clear what value I'd really get out of it. My main provider already has most of my information and can source information directly from other practices when needed. Doctors are culturally suspicious of patient submitted data, as they have concerns about amateur self-diagnosis and drug-seeking patients.

The way Google is winding this down increases my trust in their other services. Google announced their plan to shutter Google Health a year and a half before the final shutdown date. They're offering multiple data export and migration options, including instructions and support to migrate to their largest competitor, HealthVault. I've had significantly worse experiences with migration / upgrade of many paid services / software - I'm looking at you Intuit.

When it is free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558706)

Well, when you are not paying for a service, you are no longer a customer - but the product. When you are no longer a profitable product, the service will end.

Google Health (1)

krsmav (1410223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558764)

Alas, 99.9999999999999999999999999% of health advice on the internet is quackery. I quickly learned to skip the rest and go to the Mayo Clinic for real rather than imaginary information. Not to mention that it's free.

A Mattter of Trust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38558772)

I thought about joining when it first came out.
Then I thought about what might happen if the information got loose and decided against participating.

All these projects were nice by google. (1)

Celexi (1753652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558846)

However, they really need to focus on their core products and bring them up to par to their competitors, if they did that. They would be leading in thos specific things instead of launching these stupid things every other month or 2 months, like google Talk PC client, has not been updated since 2006 or 2007. And doesn't have the same voice codecs of any of the web versions or video. Not to mention their mess up on google talk and Messenger on google plus. But that is just one of them, i will support google for some more to come. But there is only so much we can have faith on.

They could have better integrated it into Google+ (1)

aix tom (902140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558904)

Some sort of "Social" follow-my-bowel-movement thing or some such.

No More Innovation at Google ! (5, Interesting)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38558956)

I'm surprised that nobody noticed it: Google is stopping all its future innovations, and concentrate on short-term revenues, which is a decision from their CEO, not by the cost of maintaining the current tools (it's a very small cost).

Something similar happened in 2000 with the 3M company, when James McNerney from GE became the new CEO.
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/07_24/b4038406.htm [businessweek.com]
In 5 years, 3M, which was ranked as the most innovative company in the world, fell at the 7th place.
This year, 3M disappeared from the 50 most innovative companies, check here:
http://www.businessweek.com/interactive_reports/innovative_companies_2010.html [businessweek.com]

McNerney focused on using Six Sigma, and improving productivity.
3M, based on a culture of innovation since 100 years, had its internal culture almost destroyed in only 5 years.

The inventor of post-it said that it would have been impossible that the "post-it" concept would have been successful using the new method.

In my opinion, it's a very short-sighted decision, as you can see with Microsoft and IBM, which invest a lot of money in innovation.
It's impossible to predict what will work in a few years, and I doubt that the current monopoly of Google on Internet ads will long very last.

Now, let me give a prediction:
currently, Apple and Google are ranked 1st and 2nd as the most innovative companies.
I bet that in 2 years, they won't be in the top 10 anymore.

Re:No More Innovation at Google ! (2)

fnj (64210) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559200)

This has happened in many American and western companies, at a grossly accelerating pace in recent years. Useless fucking business management droids don't have a clue what makes a society flourish, and they can do a lot to destroy it.

Capitalism at work, guys.

Re:No More Innovation at Google ! (3, Insightful)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559468)

No, it's not because of capitalism, since IBM and Microsoft are probably even more capitalist than Google or Apple.
It's a human decision.
Do you focus on your next quarter, or do you see farther ?

Google encouraged its employees to work 20% of their time on innovation. Now, I'm sure that this is no more the case.

Google is taking the easiest route, and when you stop taking risks, you don't create anymore.
The option "let's cut all useless expenses" is necessary only when you are in big financial trouble, otherwise, it's just plainly stupid.

Let's see how the stock market will respond now.

Alternatives? (1)

jk80D8 (1781148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38559462)

The same basic functions of Google Health can be achieved with a spreadsheet and some organization (except the perhaps convenient share feature). There's nothing groundbreaking here it seems. If you're really hurting for the same interface, I can't imagine it would take very long to write one. And Google provides a raw data file for download, so no need to start over with your records. Software like GNUmed will be major overkill compared to GH, but there might be other simpler alternatives that exist for maintaining a personal health record.

The point about dependence on the cloud is a valid and obvious one. Whether or not a service is free will determine your right to lament its passing on /. apparently (I don't think there is any "whining" here), but the service can be discontinued just the same. If you had been paying for it, you'd receive a refund and an apology, but you'd still lose a service which could have otherwise been sustained with local software.

GH is likely the veritable drop in a big financial bucket, but there's probably more to it than cost. Maintaining secure health records and complying with stuff like HIPAA rules can be treacherous, and I suspect that liability played some role in the decision. Maybe not...

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>