Google Restructures Its Health Division – Patent Data Will Predict The Next Steps

As Google restructures its health unit, patent activity will be key to predicting its future endeavors. This was previously shown when Patent Forecast® predicted Google’s acquisition of Fitbit in 2019. This $2.1B acquisition was closed as of January 2021 and has directly led to Google’s announcement in June 2021 to reorganize its health division.

The purpose of Google Health’s restructuring is two fold. The first goal is to integrate Fitbit, therefore Google transferred nearly 20% of its Google Health staff to Fitbit. Additionally, by expanding the team and implementing its AI technology, Google hopes to make Fitbit products more competitive with related products such as the Apple Watch and Amazon’s emotion-tracking Halo. The second purpose of the restructuring is to shift the Health division’s focus from consumer-facing offerings to clinical and regulatory work. To do so, the remainder of Google Health has been split into two groups. The first is focusing on clinical work, specifically regarding the development of Google’s Health Care Studio. The second group, termed Health AI, is concentrating on building new software tools to improve medical imaging and genomic analysis. 

As Google implements this new structure and expands upon it, the AI Biotech Patent Forecast® will be very useful for predicting what Google’s Health AI group is planning. Currently, Health AI is working on a project to improve algorithm-based screening for diabetic retinopathy. Just a few weeks ago, company leaders in this area were highlighted in a Patent Forecast®  insight. Therefore, we know that Sankara has an AI-based tool that assists physicians with diagnosing diabetic retinopathy, and therefore could be a potential partner for Health AI. Additionally, we know that Google was issued a patent April 4th, 2021 for a method of using machine learning to process ocular images.

To keep an eye on Health AI and find out more about what patent trends can predict check out the AI Biotech Patent Forecast®!