Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Google Story -- An Excerpt From David A. Vise's Book

The Google Story -- An Excerpt From David A. Vise's Book: "Over dinner and plenty of wine in February 2005, Sergey Brin discussed the prospects for genetics and Google with the maverick biologist Dr. Craig Venter. Venter, who had decoded the human genome, was in the midst of gathering oceanic samples from around the world and sending them back to the U.S. for analysis of nature's DNA. Despite millions of dollars in funding and thousands of hours of computing time from the federal Department of Energy, Venter needed more help to unlock the molecular myster- ies of life. It seemed to him that Google's mathematicians, scientists, technologists, and computing power had the potential to vault his research forward. He pressed Brin hard to get Google involved.
Also at the table was Ryan Phelan, chief executive officer of DNA Direct, one of the foremost Internet companies providing individuals with genetic testing and counseling. DNA Direct gets nearly all of its patients through ads it buys on Google. The ads appear to the right of the free search results when users type in 'blood clotting,' 'breast cancer,' 'cystic fibrosis' or certain other diseases. Brin, Venter, and Phelan were among those who had been invited to a dinner of the wealthy and wise at Cibo, a trendy Italian bistro in Monterey, California. Brin had brought along his friend Anne Wojcicki, a health care investor whose sister is a senior executive at Google. Seated nearby was early Google investor Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon.
'What [Venter] was talking about with Sergey was, 'How can you use Google to really help access everything at the genetic level?' ' Phelan recalled. 'What Craig was after was pure raw science. What I was hearing was, 'What if Google was the repository for the distribution of this information?' Serg"

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