Google Health

I was surprised today when Google released Google Health. Didn’t see that one coming at all and still reeling over the implications. My first reaction is concern about a single large corporation being the repository of our private medical records and that Google found a loophole in HIPPA which doesn’t apply in their case. On the other hand with the trend today of putting personal information onto social networking sites and national health info systems like the one in Brazil (written in Java and covering every single citizen including indigents with a health id card) maybe Google being the keeper of our health info makes perfect sense.

Here’s how Google describes the system…

“Google Health allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place. And it’s completely free. All you need to get started is a Google username and password.

With Google Health, you manage your health information — not your health insurance plan or your employer. You can access your information anywhere, at any time.”

I signed up immediately of course but found that my doctor isn’t a participant…yet.

Google plans to take over the world…I just wish I owned stock 🙂

Backnoise at Atlanta Startupriot

Yesterday I was bummed cause I was unable (unqualified actually 🙂 to attend Atlanta Startupriot. But someone on my twitter stream mentioned something called backnoise.com/startupriot which turned out to be a great little tool for listening in on the backchannel of the event. One person on backnoise.com/startupriot was streaming a live video and so I went from bummed out to happy camper while sitting at my desk watching and listening to the startupriot presentations one by one. Backnoise.com is pretty cool. All you have to do to start a new conversation is visit the site and click on the logo or you can simply browse to http://backnoise.com/name_of_your_conversation.

What’s this blog about?

Working for Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute I enjoy plenty of opportunities to learn about technology innovations that can positively impact business top and bottom lines and improve the lives of consumers. Nowadays I am most excited about the new cloud computing models like Google Apps, Intuit’s Quickbase, and Amazon Web Services; the promise of virtual worlds from companies like Second Life and Kaneva; some of the new social networking sites like Twitter, Skribit, and del.icio.us; and putting them all together in mashups. These technologies tend to have very low to zero entry costs with potentially huge positive impacts on the success factors of businesses and individuals. I’m also excited about some of the fast rising web 2.0 programming languages like Python and Ruby. So this blog is all about telling you everything I know on these innovation enablers as I learn them myself. Hope you enjoy the ride.

Python Is Coming

Yesterday evening (7:30 til 10:00) I attended the Atlanta Python user’s group meeting held at Georgia Tech’s Food Processing Center. The main presentation was about Google’s new App engine…a complete application development and hosting environment utilizing Google’s infrastructure. Right now the only development language supported is Python and App engine is in beta limited to around 10,000 developers. Last week I received my app engine developers account from Google and so was excited to see a presentation on it at the python meeting. The most important insight I gained from the presentation is that the apps database engine supports flat tables only…no joins between tables (arrrrrgh). Although tables can be linked and there is good referential integrity between tables. So the take away is think lists not tables…denormalize your data structure…and put everything you need to deliver a record to the web into a single record. Well this is just the beta…wonder what Google’s plans are moving forward? Hopefully we’ll get a better db at some point. Wish I was attending Google’s I/O conference in two weeks in San Fran…where all questions regarding the app engine will probably be answered. For more information on the Google App Engine here’s a presentation on youtube on how to create and deploy an application using the app engine. And it’s very interesting that Python is now number seven on the Tiobe programming index, one position ahead of C# and two positions up from Ruby. Python seems to be on the rise as the language of choice in the web 2.0 hacker community.