Alphabet rebrands its health division Google Life Sciences, now named Verily

Alphabet, the holding company in charge of holding Google, has announced a new division: Verily. Formerly known as Google Life Sciences, the rebranded team will move away from Google and become its own independent division.

Verily used to be part of Google X, the secret lab where moonshots were tested. It will continue its work developing technologies to track health and cure disease, but will do so without Google X leader Astro Teller overseeing projects.

The new CEO of Verily is Andy Conrad, also the head of Life Sciences. Alphabet has kept most of the former division leaders as newly minted CEOs, avoiding major management upheavals.

Verily will be separate from Calico, another health division focused on longevity. Arthur Levinson will continue to run Calico as an independent branch of Alphabet.

In an introductory video for Verily, the team talks about stopping disease before its spreads, being proactive rather than reactive with healthcare, and offering personal healthcare that understands your body.

“Our multidisciplinary teams have access to advanced research tools, large-scale computing power, and unique technical expertise,” says Verily on its website. “We work with partners from across the industry and many fields of research to develop new technology, launch studies, and start companies.”

It all seems like a bunch of vague ideas, but Google Life Sciences has developed a few products that show potential as the future of healthcare. Contact lenses that can track glucose levels, a spoon for people suffering from tremors, a disease detection platform, and a health-tracking wristband have all come from the division.

Google Life Sciences also conducted an experiment to see what the perfect human would look like, using genetic and molecular information from donors — it is named the Baseline Study.

Alphabet chief executive Larry Page has talked before about how important healthcare is and how Google might be able to do more with less regulation in the United States. Speaking at Vinod Kholsa’s VC event, Page said that if the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, could be amended to reduce the regulation of medical records in the U.S., it would save 10,000 lives in the first year alone, since medical researchers would be able to data mine more effectively.

While not everyone wants their medical records made available to researchers, Page argues that the information would be anonymous and would help researchers obtain meaningful results. Various researchers working on Apple’s ResearchKit share this sentiment, claiming that being able to mine more data would increase the chances of finding cures to diseases.


Lack of regulation means wearables aren’t held accountable for health claims

As fitness trackers become more like health monitors, some physicians are concerned they can lead to over-diagnosis of non-existent problems. It’s already happening with wearable baby monitors.
Product Review

Controversy has dogged the MacBook Pro lately. Is it still a good purchase?

The MacBook Pro is a controversial laptop these days -- and that's unfortunate. Due to some divisive changes Apple made to the functionality of the MacBook Pro, fans are more split. Does the 8th-gen refresh change that?

Alphabet’s health watch monitors your heart health, is approved by the FDA

A health monitoring watch being developed by Alphabet, Google's parent company, has received clearance from the FDA as a medical device. This means that the device has been found to be safe and can legally be sold in the U.S.

Omron HeartGuide brings blood pressure monitoring to your wrist

High blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, and many other health problems, so it's important to keep an eye on. Omron's HeartGuide is a fitness tracking watch that can also monitor your blood pressure from your wrist.
Emerging Tech

Face-scanning A.I. can help doctors spot unusual genetic disorders

Facial recognition can unlock your phone. Could it also be used to identify whether a person has a rare genetic disorder, based on their facial features? New research suggests it can.
Health & Fitness

In search of the fountain of youth, beauty companies turn to tech

Beauty tech is a fairly new concept, but at CES 2019, companies such as Olay, L’Oreal, and Neutrogena were fully embracing it with all kinds of gadgets that promise to give you glowing skin.

Walmart slashes prices on the Fitbit Versa smartwatch and Charge 3

We are officially halfway through January, and for a lot of us, that means the struggle to stick to our New Year's resolutions is in full force. Walmart is offering some great discounts on Fitbits to help you stay on track.

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.

REI slashes prices on Suunto, Garmin, and Fitbit Versa smartwatches

Though fitness trackers and smartwatches can get pretty pricey, REI is offering some sweet discounts on top brands. Right now, you can get a new smartwatch from Fitbit, Suunto, and Garmin for up to 35 percent off its normal price.

Here are 8 GoPro tips to get the most out of your action cam

There's more to your GoPro camera than just mounting it to your skateboard. Whether it's finding the best accessories or understanding the settings more thoroughly, learn to shoot video like a pro with these simple GoPro tips and tricks.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Health & Fitness

Still tired? Smart sleep aids can help improve your snooze

Do you snore? Toss and turn? Alternate between extremely hot and extremely cold body temperatures at night? A deluge of smart sleep technology on the market aims to help you get a better night of shut-eye.

Hydro Flask’s Journey backpack can keep your water cold for hours

The Hydro Flask Journey hydration pack uses insulating fabrics and heat-reflecting materials to help keep your water fresh and cold for hours on end while out for a hike or mountain bike ride.