Google launched a beta test version of its Google Health service on Monday for archiving medical records and finding medical services.
The site - which is currently available for health-care purposes in the US only - is a personal portal that can be used to upload, store and view personal information; retrieve records from partners; investigate health matters; set alerts such as a reminder to take medication; and run applications that can, for example, keep track of how many miles a person has walked.
Google has said upfront that the service will never sell a patient's information and will only share it with the patient's permission. Users can also revoke rights to share at any time.
The company was silent on how it hopes to make money from the new innovation, besides driving more traffic to its search engine, which shows ads alongside search results, and exploiting the offering to keep users coming back for more.
A longer-term possibility may be that Google Health could be free for ordinary patients, but health professionals that need to archive data could be charged a managed-storage subscription fee.