Google dismantles Health unit in favor of tried-and-tested ‘throw everything at the wall’ strategy

Google is going back to the drawing boards to rethink its healthcare strategy. Business Insider reported that the tech giant will dissolve its single, unifying Google Health division. Instead, it will adopt a distributed approach to building products for health. According to Jeff Dean, Google's AI chief, David Feinberg is leaving the company as the head of the division. However, an unknown number of Google Health employees will be transferred to other Google teams (like Search and Fitbit), to work on specific services.
This is a big change to an already messy initiative. In recent years, tech giants such as Apple and Google have been increasingly interested in healthcare but have not made inroads in an already fractured industry. Google's health efforts have been at best uneventful. They include Android fitness apps to AI-powered eye disease detectors to bungled data agreements, to medical study applications, to Nest Hub sleep-tracking features, and machine learning tools for clinicians. So on.

@GoogleHealth is not just one team. It's a company-wide effort that touches many products.

All our health initiatives will be merged under the @GoogleHealth umbrella. Jeff Dean (@) (@JeffDean), August 23, 2021

Google Health was meant to bring together these efforts and give direction to the company's vast ambitions. Although the brand has been around since 2006, Google appeared to be taking a more serious approach to 2018 when it hired Feinberg, a respected healthcare executive. This latest news shows that it hasn't worked out. However, the Google Health brand will continue to live on. Dean tweeted: @GoogleHealth is not just one team. It's a company-wide effort that touches on many of our products. All our health initiatives will be referred to as @GoogleHealth in the future.

What does this mean for you, avid Google Health user? It was a squat. These core experiences, whether you are using a Fitbit or Google to find out why I am so tired at 3AM every morning, will likely be the same as before. It remains to be seen if Google can provide more value from its healthcare strategy.