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Google signs biggest cloud computing customer deal

(Image credit: Image Credit: Melpomene / Shutterstock)

Google has signed a new deal with healthcare providers Ascension, which will see the giant's healthcare data residing on its cloud platform.

Ascension operates more than 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States.

The deal will see Google start hosting patient data on millions of US citizens.

Even though data hosting seems to be front at centre of the deal, the two companies have bigger plans which come in the form of artificial intelligence. Apparently, Google will be using the data to improve its AI tools, and Ascension is looking to be one of those companies taking advantage of advanced AI solutions.

Google's announcement of the deal made no mentions of artificial intelligence, but it did say the companies were in “early testing” on how to make better use of Ascension’s data. According to Reuters, Google has been developing AI for years, with the goal of automatic MRI scan analytics, better diagnosis and predictions. At the end of the day, it is looking to improve outcomes and cut costs.

Still, the fact that patient data is going Google’s way doesn’t sit well with some. Google has had to go on the defensive about it, with Tariq Shaukat, president for industry products and solutions at Google Cloud writing that patient data “cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data”, and that Ascension “are the stewards of the data, and we provide services on their behalf.”