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.