Earlier this year Google launched a new eHealth initiative to store human DNA genomes in its special ‘Genome Cloud’ that enables genetic researches to rapidly compare thousands of genome files.

The service is available for $25 a year per genome file, each of which contains about 100GB of data.

Along with the vast database, the genome cloud uses Google’s search tools – the same that indexes the Web and tracks the billions of users – to rapidly process the data to give doctors and researches meaningful insights into the genetic underpinnings of certain genetically-related health conditions like cancer.

The Genome Cloud is just one of the recent eHealth initiatives Google is undertaking, others include the disease-detecting nanoparticles and wearable project and glucose-measuring contact lenses.

Google’s Genome Cloud initiative has had growing support from the scientific community since its launch in March, with the US National Cancer Institute reportedly copying 2.6 Petabytes of data into the cloud, at a cost of $19 Million. “Such ‘cancer genome clouds’ would allow scientists to share information and quickly run virtual experiments as easily as a Web search,” said research scientist at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle, Sheila Reynolds. “Not everyone has the ability to download a petabyte of data, or has the computing power to work on it.”

Google has also teamed up with Geneticist and Director of the Centre for Applied Genomics at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children, Dr Stephen Scherer, and Autism Speaks in a $50 Million effort to identify the possible genetic root causes of autism, which afflicts about 1 in every 100 children globally, and 1 in every 86 in South Africa.

“We have new, unpublished data that shows autism is really a collection of different disorders,” said Dr. Scherer in an interview with CNBC. “This is so much the case that even in families where siblings have autism, they often have different forms of the condition and therefore need to be treated in a manner specific to their sub-type.”

Co-founder of Autism Speaks, Bob Wright, added that the partnership with Google will, “open up a whole world of autism research. Hopefully, we are going to save 25 years of research in a matter of 18 to 24 months.”

Amazon, IBM and Microsoft are also developing their cloud eHealth storage capabilities, so it’ll be interesting to see how each organisation develops their technology to remain ahead of the game.

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