Google’s creepy service for keeping track of your health records online, Google Health, just got a design makeover. In theory Google Health is a simple health tracker and aggregator. It offered you a (supposedly private) place to store information about your health and keep track of it.
Eventually Google added other services to Google Health to make it more useful: CardioTrainer and FitBit. This brings Google HEalth out of the computer box and onto your phone (CardioTrainer) and into the “gadgets you can wear” arena (FitBit). For a product that Google doesn’t talk about much, they are actually investing in it – something Google isn’t always known for.
You have to wonder why Google is working so hard to down play Google Health overall. I’d guess they have concerns about users getting up in arms about privacy. Frankly, I’d agree that there are some serious concerns about privacy inherent when you take health records online, no matter how pretty and functional you make the site.
Why does Google Health make people nervous in a way that other sites that help you count calories and weight loss or exercise efforts don’t? It’s the part about keeping actual health records online and the implications for insurance and other things if the site got hacked. Health records hold much more import than user reported data on what you ate for lunch or whether you took your walk that day.
Are online health records the wave of the future? Perhaps, but judging by how easy it is to hack the internet still and how little the average person understands about passwords and online privacy issues, perhaps it is a future we aren’t yet ready for.