“Google Bioinformatics”: a step closer?

Deepak posted some interesting notes from the scifoo meeting today: I can’t access his site just now, but the link is Scifoo: Google and large scientific datasets.

Brief summary: Google are interested in archiving and distributing scientific data. I’m delighted to hear it. To be honest, there are times when I feel that bioinformatics as we know it today – that is, largely an academic research pursuit – is doomed. What we have is a disparate bunch of amateur programmers, all hacking away on various problems but not dealing with the big issue. Which is simply this: for any piece of biological information (a gene sequence, protein structure, organism, pathway, whatever), I want to go to the Web and find out absolutely everything that is known about it. Now.

This requires professionals who understand information and how it can be stored, retrieved, manipulated and displayed. If you could go to anyone with these problems, a company such as Google would be an obvious choice. Personally, I’d be more than happy to use nothing but “Google Bioinformatics”, one day.

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4 thoughts on ““Google Bioinformatics”: a step closer?

  1. Don’t forget the origins of Google – some would say a couple of amateur programmers that hacked something together – which was also the origin of many of the now big successful companies – and also the smaller start-ups which the larger companies often take over.

    Several years back, with a little bit of programming experience under my belt, I had the opportunity to work for a large technology company. I was very excited about the prospect of learning from ‘the professionals’ – only to be initially disheartened by the fact that no-one really seemed to know a lot about what they were doing. A huge amount was then invested in another technology implementation partner to install a CRM platform – they knew even less and wasted much of the budget – before it was handed back to the in-house ‘amateurs’, who managed to clean up the mess and get the thing working with little resources.

    I came to learn that in IT, no amount of money or professionalism really pays off without a few ‘bright sparks’ to pull it all together – and they are often the ‘amateurs’, with huge amounts of energy, creativity and enthusiasm for a project. You can find those anywhere – of course I am sure that Google has a few too!

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