During a 10-minute spot on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit, uber product manager Marissa Mayer, who took over Google's Health initiative from Adam Bosworth after his departure, wanted to show that the initiative was, ahem, alive and well.
So what better way to do that then in a Letterman-esque top 10 list of things people want to know about Google Health?
She called it Top 10 Things You Might See from Google Health. These are slightly paraphrased so I'm not putting direct quotes around them, but they are no funnier in digital print then they were from Mayer's mouth. Indeed, laughter was sparse from those in attendance
10: Related problems. People with all of your problems also search for ...
9: Competition in the social networking space could be a strain of Health Orkut mashups: Rashbook, Boilbook and Wartbook (was this a ham-handed way to poke fun at Facebook?).
8: Google's cookie expiration is now based on your expected expiration (to which the person next to me half-seriously muttered, "Oh, they're shortening them, then").
7: Google's algorithms may cause balding patterns.
6: Then we'll sell you Rogaine.
5: Google paternity search.
4: Checking symptoms may return, "Did you mean estate planning?"
3: An "I'm feeling yucky" button.
2: We'll be able to deliver Viagra spam to only those female users who truly need it.
1: Your Google Calendar may mysteriously end on April 21, 2044.
With all of its money, Google couldn't hire Letterman's staff in a pinch?
Beyond saying Google Health will appear in some form in 2008 and throwing out a lot of stats about the volume of health-oriented data in the world, we learned little about the company's plans in this area.
Mayer did say Google is considering adding a doctor-finding layer to Google's Mobile Maps application. She also said Google was approached before Hurricane Katrina to see if it could digitize paper health records before they were swept away but noted that it was "too late for us to mobilize and make anything happen there."
Ouch. That is not going to endear Google to consumers.
Meanwhile, Microsoft is rolling ahead with its HealthVault, which it launched Oct. 4. When Google Health finally appears, it will be interesting to note the differences. Until then, we'll have to make up our own top 10 lists of things we might see from Google Health.