Interesting story in today’s WSJ on Google’s recent moves over last year or so, which have accelerated more recently, to trim expenses as revenue growth slows. As Google battens down the hatches to weather the economic storm, makes one begin to wonder what is in store for Google Health, a property that is generating no revenue at this time. One thing is clear, Google is realigning resources into those activities that do generate revenue and taking a much closer look at those that do not.
Google Health has never had many resources dedicated to it to begin with and Google has relied heavily on outside services to build specific capabilities (e.g., IBM built the Continua connector). Will Google now put Google Health on life support, by further drawing down resources? How the CMS demo fairs in AZ & UT as well as Google’s ability to attract more partners and data providers will be critical barometers for Google Health’s future. Also, while Google has stated on many occasions that they did not plan to have advertising in Google Health, they also never stated flat-out that they would not advertise.
We believe Google Health will continue in its current state using minimal internal resources, but not a contraction of resources and flex-in outside help on extremely critical needs (e.g., storing images, supporting other standards, etc.). Also, though there are no advertisements today, they will probably begin appearing in 12-18 months.
Do not expect any big announcements, major pushes, just a slow and steady pace at Google Health for the foreseeable future.