Google's health initiative expected to launch in '08

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Google is expected to launch its eagerly awaited health initiative sometime in early 2008, according to the company's head of search, Marissa Mayer.

During October's Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Mayer gave a brief outline of how Google is planning to leverage its search and data storage capacities in the areas of medical care and patient records.

“Google is not a doctor, but people come to us with a lot of health information searches.  There is a big user information need, which we should ultimately fill,” Mayer said.

She told the audience to “expect a lot of activity in the coming months.”

Earlier in October, Microsoft beat Google to the punch, making the leap into the online consumer healthcare space by offering free personal health records on the Web.

The service called HealthVault will offer consumers personal health records and an Internet search engine tailored for health.

“The value of what we're doing will go up rapidly as we get more partners,” Peter Neupert, the vice president in charge of Microsoft's health group, told The New York Times.

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