The trend today is about ‘socialnetworking-zing’ everything. From corporate portals to hotel sites, the buzz is about how to get users to sync with other individuals and share content online. I think it was only time that genomics also got on the bandwagon – a reason why the latest announcement from 23andme is not much of a surprise.
An excerpt from Technology Review
Avey and Wojcicki hope that, as with traditional forms of social networking, word of the new tool will ripple through family and friends, bringing in new customers. Avey, who has shared her genome with many users, says that she has introduced people based on their haplogroups: genetic groupings representing major migration branches of the human evolutionary tree. Perhaps haplogroup inquiries will become the genomic alternative to the classic pickup line “What’s your sign?” Or maybe genome-savvy geeks will create haplogroup-specific MySpace pages.
The social feature would let users compare their genome data with that of other users and present similarities. What is interesting is the following excerpt
23andMe will not sell genetic data to pharmaceutical companies, but it may sell access to the company’s pool of willing research participants or other fruits of its database.
In tech parlance that appears to me as an API or something similar. The API route is more probable considering that Google is one of the investors in the start-up.
With all the recent interest that Google and Microsoft have been showing in the online medical healthcare space, 23andme may perhaps have a crucial role to play in future.