Google Launches Genome Data Storage Business


Google announces that it will launch a new cloud-hosted data center designed to store massive amounts of sequenced genome data so that scientists from different parts of the world can all do genetic research using the same, cloud-based data set. The project is called Google Genomics and Google will market it to academic medical centers and public and private research institutions engaging in genome-based studies.

A fully sequenced human genome is about 100 gigabytes of data, which Google will store for $25 per year, and will charge more to perform cloud-based analysis on the data. Anecdotally, Stanford’s genome data warehouse manager Somalee Datta, said that the price point brings Google in line with Amazon and place the two at around the same price that she is paying to self-host her genome data.

Researchers will access the data through a new API that Google created that will allow organizations to upload their data to the cloud for storage, and then manipulate the data on the cloud using more powerful computers and processes. Google hopes the new platform will allow researchers to run analysis on hundreds of genome samples, rather than small batches, and have results in minutes, rather than hours. Despite the large volumes being stored and processed, the internet traffic coming and going from the cloud is relatively small, 1/60th of what YouTube transfers in a day.

Recently, Google announced similar pilot programs with both Autism Speaks and the Institute for Systems Biology to host thousands of fully sequenced genome samples, though at the time pricing information was not disclosed. Thus far, the company says it is hosting 3,500 fully sequenced genomes on its servers. Google Genome director David Glazer clarifies that the Genome project has no affiliation with either the Calico project which is focusing on extending human life, or any of the health-related X Labs projects the company has announced lately. Interesting that even brilliant developers enter healthcare and instinctively compartmentalize data into non-integrated silos.

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