Glucose-monitoring contact lenses for diabetics, wrist computers that read diagnostic nanoparticles injected in the blood stream, implantable devices that modify electrical signals that pass along nerves, medication robots, human augmentation, human brain simulation — the list goes on.
That’s not an inventory of improbable CGI effects from the latest sci-fi movie, it’s a list of initiatives being tackled by Alphabet’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google Life Sciences research unit, recently rebranded Verily.
For those who appreciate The Motley Fool’s affection for William Shakespeare, “verily” is Shakespearean-era word that means “truly,” or “confidently.” As in: “I verily believe that sweater is the ugliest one I have ever seen.”
Confidence certainly exemplifies Google. Verily was hatched from Google X, the company’s secretive lab for oft-nutty projects, such as space elevators, teleportation, and hoverboards. Google X also launched Google Glass, which was undoubtedly a super-cool device, but wasn’t received well by its intended market, to put it mildly.
With that kind of background, what are the chances Verily will unleash something that will change healthcare? Are good things about to flow? Or — courtesy of the Bard of Avon — is Verily merely a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? Let’s look at Verily’s current financial situation and then check out the prospect of a marketable product that could move Google’s needle.