Google's project Calico: the search giant looks for an answer to ageing

Larry Page announces mysterious and ambitious new project that will "focus on health and well-being"

Google has always prided itself on its ‘moon shots’ – ambitious projects that have seen the search giant sink money into everything from self-driving cars to translating the web into 64 different languages. Their latest venture might be their most aspirational yet: aiming to extend human life.

Named Calico, the project was announced by co-founder Larry Page, with the stated aim being to “focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of ageing and associated diseases.”

Details of exactly what goals Calico will pursue are scarce, but it seem logical that technological assistance and analysis will be a big part of their approach to helping an increasingly elderly population. This might mean innovations in hardware but is more likely to leverage Google's capacity to collect and analyse vast datasets.

 “Illness and ageing affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives,” said Page, who also introduced Arthur D. Levinson Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, as the CEO of Calico.

“It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art—one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation—to take this new venture forward”

Levinson himself said: “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.”

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, also joined in the congratulations, noting that “Art is one of the crazy ones […]There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results.”

Speaking to Time about the venture Page asks “Are people really focused on the right things? 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.”

“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.”

Exactly what Google decides Calico will work towards remain a mystery, but it seems like it might be the company’s biggest moon shot to date.

Launched: Google team releases a balloon A weather balloon is released as part of Google Loon: one of the search giant's projects conceived in Google X.

Google X:

Set apart from The Googleplex (the company's main corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California) Google X is the company's secretive research department and home to its moon shot projects. This offshoot of Google-proper is over seen by co-founder Sergey Brin and has been responsible for Google Glass, self-driving cars, and a recent project to provide internet coverage using weather balloons.

The department reportedly decides whether to pursue projects based on three main criteria: whether there is a significant problem for the world to be solved; if there is a solution possible; and could new technology help.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    HR Business Partner - Essex - £39,000 plus benefits

    £32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...

    2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

    £25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

    IT Support Engineer (1st and 2nd Line) - London

    £22000 - £24000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: IT Support Engineer (1st...

    Business Intelligence Consultant - Central London - £80,000

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Business Intelligence Consultant - C...

    Day In a Page

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?