Google has reportedly shut down its dedicated Google Health division as part of a major reorganization. The shutdown comes as the company failed to take off its Health division. The Health chief Dr. David Feinberg leaves the company who joins Cerner as its new president and CEO.
The news was first reported by Insider last week and was confirmed by Jeff Dean, the head of Google’s AI research and health division, today.
As we've broadened our work in health across Google (Search, Cloud, YouTube, Fitbit, …), we have decided to move some @GoogleHeath teams closer to product areas to help with execution while nurturing some earlier stage products and research efforts. https://t.co/v0qS1R453v
— Jeff Dean (@?) (@JeffDean) August 23, 2021
According to The Verge, employees working in Google’s Health division will be relocated to other Google teams. The change seems to be a part of the new strategy that Google seems to be adopting. The company is dropping a unified healthcare strategy and expanding its health efforts across a broader range of products, including Google Search, YouTube, Fitbit, and more.
As a part of the reorganization, Google’s efforts will now be focused on projects like medical imaging and the team will report to Yossi Matias, VP of Search and AI. Meanwhile, Google Health’s clinician team, which develops tools for physicians to more easily search health records, will report directly to Jeff Dean.
“Google deeply believes in the power of technology to improve health and wellness and we have increased our health investments across the company. This has included developing projects within Google Health, launching and expanding health-related features on Search, Maps, and YouTube that reach billions of people, and welcoming Fitbit,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
The Health division of Google was supposed to unify the efforts of its messy initiative. The company’s Health division dates back to 2006 but took off seriously in 2018 when the company hired Feinberg. It was supposed that the new executive would give some sense of purpose and direction to the company’s sprawling ambitions. However, three years later, the company is shutting the division down.