Is Google Health corrupt?

How can it be OK for Steve Case to try and sell me Lipitor when I click over to a page on cholesterol, yet it's evil for Google to even consider doing the same?

No.

There seems to be an intense campaign to make it appear that Google Health is the most dangerous site on the Internet.

I described one such approach yesterday, the idea that Google is some sort of Big Brother that wants to sell your heart rate to insurance companies and your employers, so they can fire you.

This line of attack tracks a key fact, one that bears repeating.

Under their current business models both insurers and employers have an incentive to get private data on you, so they can game the system to their advantage. It's in the business model. The way to protect us from this is to change the business model.

Then there's the line of attack that Google Health is a secret plan to capture our specific health data and use it to send us ads.

Google denies this, but what if it's true? Would it be worse than HealthCentral? More evil than Healthline?

Plain fact is the business model of every major health information site, from WebMD to the present day, is reliant on advertising. Advertising from drug companies, from device makers, from hospitals, from physicians. Not juse mass media, but ads targeted specifically toward you based on your condition and health interests.

How can it be OK for Steve Case to try and sell me Lipitor when I click over to a page on cholesterol, yet it's evil for Google to even consider doing the same?

So far Google Health has not made a move to monetize what it is doing, just as Google has made no attempt to put ads against its Google News service. Yet just as idiot newspapers think Google should pay for linking to their ad-filled pages, we have activists laying false charges aimed at pushing it out of the Personal Health Record (PHR) business.

Would it be too much to ask if, before anyone prints another such release, a reporter look into the possible motives of the complainant? Some will easily withstand the scrutiny. Others will prove to be competitors' Astroturf.

In either case it's a better story.