Google announced what might be its biggest, or at least most public, push into medical imaging AI with the launch of its new Google Cloud Medical Imaging Suite.
The Suite directly targets organizations who are developing imaging AI models and performing advanced image-based analytics, while also looking to improve Google’s positioning in the healthcare cloud race.
The Medical Imaging Suite is (logically) centered around Google Cloud’s image storage and Healthcare API, which combine with its DICOMweb-based data exchange and automated DICOM de-identification tech to create a cloud-based AI development environment. Meanwhile, its “Suite” title is earned through integrations with an array of Google and partner solutions:
- NVIDIA’s annotation tools (including its MONAI toolkit) to help automate image labeling
- Google’s BigQuery and Looker solutions to search and analyze imaging data, and create training datasets
- Google’s Vertex AI environment to accelerate AI pipeline development
- NetApp’s hybrid cloud services to support on-premise-to-cloud data management
- Google’s Anthos solution for centralized policy management and enforcement
- Change Healthcare’s cloud-native enterprise imaging PACS for clinical use
It’s possible that many of these solutions were already available to Google Cloud users, and it appears that AWS and Azure have a similar list of imaging capabilities/partners, so this announcement might prove to be more technologically significant if it leads to Google Cloud creating a differentiated and/or seamlessly-integrated suite going forward.
However, the announcement’s marketing impact was immediate, as press articles and social media conversations largely celebrated Google Cloud’s new role in solving imaging’s interoperability and AI development problems. It’s been a while since we’ve seen AWS or Azure gain imaging headlines or public praise like that, and they’re the healthcare cloud market share leaders.
Although some might debate whether the Medical Imaging Suite’s features are all that new, last week’s launch certainly reaffirms Google Cloud’s commitment to medical imaging (with an AI development angle), and suggests that we might see more imaging-targeted efforts from them going forward.