Google just announced its most recent plan in a long list of crazy moonshots. This one isn't self-driving cars or internet in the sky, instead it's a company called Calico that's going to try and put an end to ageing and disease.
There aren't too many details about exactly how Calico will go about its business, but the plan is to make long-term bets that healthcare companies are generally pretty slow about. Calico will be run by Arthur D. Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, but he's not giving up his day job.
Larry Page summed up the project this way in a statement:
Illness and ageing affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art — one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation — to take this new venture forward.
This project has a lot less to do with Google's specific technical chops than the vast majority of Google's other moonshot projects. But Google does have scads of cash, which will be its main contribution. It seems that Calico will operate mostly on its own, and big money for an ambitious, independent project seems like as good a recipe for success as any.