Got masses of genomic data overflowing their storage bins? Google wants to store your genomes in its cloud, Technology Review's Antonio Regalado writes.
The company launched Google Genomics in March, around the same time it joined the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health. Google Genomics has been developing an API, Regalado says, to allow researchers to move their DNA data to its servers and analyze it "using the same database technology that indexes the Web and tracks billions of Internet users."
"We saw biologists moving from studying one genome at a time to studying millions," says Google software engineer David Glazer. "The opportunity is how to apply breakthroughs in data technology to help with this transition."
Somalee Datta at Stanford University says storing genomic data with services like those of Google or Amazon now cost the same as storing them internally. She tells Regalado that some Stanford researchers have been using Google's BigQuery, which was developed to analyze things like spam, web documents, and online purchases but which has since been adapted for use on genomic data.
"Sometimes [researchers] want to do crazy things, and you need scale to do that," Datta says. "It can handle the scale genetics can bring, so it's the right technology for a new problem."