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Google’s latest acquisition could reduce your trips to the clinic



GeekWire reports that Google has acquired Senosis, a Seattle-based startup that’s been making mobile apps to identify and monitor health conditions without the need for additional hardware.

Fronted by Shwetak Patel, a computer science and electrical engineering professor at the University of Washington, the company has developed tools to detect jaundice in infants and measure hemoglobin in your blood (to screen for diseases like anaemia) using just your phone’s camera.

Another app uses the mic to help diagnose lung problems like asthma and cystic fibrosis. If approved by health regulatory agencies, these apps could make it easy to deploy wellness solutions in developing countries without the need for expensive hardware, testing labs and accompanying personnel.

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The acquisition will likely help Google boost its efforts to tackle health issues as part of the company’s plans for world domination. Its AI firm, DeepMind, has been working on machine learning tech to detect eye conditions and help fight blindness. The search giant also gathers fitness data on users’ phones and from wearable trackers.

It’s worth noting, though, that Google hasn’t commented on the acquisition or said where it will place the Senosis team, which counts a little over a dozen people. GeekWire’s source said that they might be retained in Seattle to work with Google and form the backbone of a digital health project.



Shop owner’s takedown of Google leads to new consumer protection law in Colombia



A Colombian shop owner fought for his rights against Google. The small-scale furniture seller recently won a court battle with Google after failing to silence an anonymous blogger who spread false accusations, shattering his online reputation.

The man, who chose to remain unnamed, owns a furniture store in the city of Ibagué, Colombia and decided it was time to take action for protection (acción de tutela) against a blog that published negative comments regarding his small venture.

The blog was set up on Blogger, which belongs to Google Inc. The anonymous blogger posted false accusations, including claims that he was a thief and asked for advanced payments — only to then run off with the money and disappear.

The man said he waited two years for a response from the blog owner before taking it to court, claiming the increasingly bad rep affected his personal and work life — even though they were false. The court ruled in favor of the shop owner, and ordered Google to take down the website.

It even came with a long term positive outcome: the legal entity that handled the case ordered the Colombian Ministry of Technology and Communications to create a new law in order to protect internet users against any kind of defamatory, dishonorable, or injurious posts. The law must detail how the state will provide protection and advise on how to ensure these posts are removed from the internet.

Credit: Google Maps