ROCHESTER, Minnesota Internet giant Google plans to open its first Minnesota office in downtown Rochester to serve as a hub for its partnership with Mayo Clinic.
The announcement was made Thursday by Joe Miles, head of health and life sciences at Google Clouds, that the company will be moving to the Collider Coworking space on the second floor of the Conley-Maass-Downs building.
In the announcement, Miles said the new office will give us a physical home in Minnesota, as well as our long-term strategic partnership with Mayo Clinic.
Google and Mayo Clinic launched the 10-year strategic partnership in fall 2019.
As millions of anonymized patient records have been transferred to Google Cloud as part of the Mayo Clinic project for over a year, this desk and the upcoming Google logo on the 120-year-old brick building will be the first physical sign of collaboration.
A handful of Googlers will be permanently based there, according to Chris Mueller, site manager for Googles Rochester. These will be people who live and work in Rochester.
While he couldn’t be more specific on the expected number of employees or the exact space the office will occupy, he said the Rochester office is a big deal for Google.
The actual opening of the office will take place later this year, once it is deemed safe and compliant with local and national COVID-19 guidelines.
This is another center of the partnership ecosystem, Mueller said. Many people at Google are excited to travel across the country for the opportunity to work with Mayo Clinic.
Rochester Mayor Kim Norton and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz are also thrilled with the project.
Google has a long history of supporting Minnesota businesses and nonprofits, and the fact that they chose Rochester for their first physical space in the state is a testament to our reputation as a first-class city, Norton said at the Thursday announcement.
The closest Google offices to the region are in Madison, Wisconsin, and Council Bluffs, Iowa, which both started small and grew quickly.
Google’s rooting in Minnesota will provide lasting economic opportunities not only for the Rochester area, but for our entire state, Walz said Thursday. This partnership with the Mayo Clinic strengthens Minnesotas’ reputation as a welcoming state for innovation and economic opportunity. We welcome Google to our community.
According to Google, this helped generate $ 7.29 billion in economic activity in 2019 for 22,200 Minnesota businesses, publishers, nonprofits, creators and developers, as well as $ 7.3 million in free advertising to Minnesota. Minnesota nonprofits through the Google Ad Grants program.
Aashima Gupta, Director of Googles, Global Healthcare Solutions, said integrating Google into the Rochester community was a key step in Mayo-Google’s goal of building tools for the digital future of healthcare.
While the office is yet to open, Dr John Halamka, chairman of the Mayo Clinic Platform initiative, said a lot of work has already been done on the Google collaboration.
The Halamkas team de-identified the medical records and uploaded them to a secure vault on Google Cloud. He said 10 million unstructured records were processed in April and 10 million unstructured records were uploaded in August.
Destructured means removing obvious identifiers, such as names and addresses, from records. Unstructured means removing physician notes that might include identifying information, such as a patient’s job title.
In December, 200 million anonymized radiological files were processed.
Halamka says the next steps are to upload patient genomic data as well as digital images of 25 million glass pathology slides.
About 20 petabytes of pathology images have already been moved. We plan to end up moving around 55 million petabytes, he said. A petabyte is a very large number (1000 terabytes).
During the first 18 months of the partnership, Google also launched projects such as exploring the use of AI to help doctors develop radiation therapy plans and worked on how to respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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