Startup Patents Eugenics Tool to Build Your Best Baby

Nitasha Tiku · 10/03/13 02:45PM

The genetics testing company 23andme was recently awarded a patent it applied for five years ago. According to PandoDaily, the patent covers a "calculator" that lets "people to pick and choose traits of their future child." Anne Wojcicki, the CEO of 23andme and wife of Google founder Sergey Brin, is listed as the lead inventor.

Family Terror Over Faulty Genetic Tests

Ryan Tate · 06/08/10 12:43PM

A Google-connected startup misdirected up to 96 genetic-test results, telling people their children were not their children, that their ancestors were not their ancestors and even that they were a different gender. Then came the panic and tears.

Did Mrs. Google's Company Curl Into the Googleplex To Die?

Ryan Tate · 11/03/09 06:20PM

For a company with deep support from Google, 23andMe seems awfully beset by problems: Two layoff rounds in five months and the departure of a co-founder. So when we hear the company is "hemorrhaging cash," we're inclined to believe it.

The Google-Cash-Swapping-Orgy Blimp

Ryan Tate · 07/22/09 01:10PM

Google hasn't been shy about sharing its riches with select friends outside the company. And the number one rule of this tightly-knit group seems to be: spread the love. Which brings us to 23AndMe's new, very incestuous blimp.

Google Wife Still Determined to Get Your DNA

cityfile · 03/31/09 10:18AM

Remember last year's Fashion Week party for Anne Wojcicki (Mrs. Sergey Brin) and Linda Avey's gene-testing site, where the likes of Ivanka Trump touted their newly-discovered genetic blessedness while other attendees spit into test tubes to enjoy the scientific equivalent of a palm reading? While spending money to find out that your shortness is hereditary, or that you'll go bald at 35 then succumb to heart disease at 50, isn't likely to be high on people's priority list during a recession, the company, which is backed by Wendi Deng and Harvey Weinstein, is still going. It is, however, employing some ingenious/desperate new marketing tactics.

Sergey Brin's Weird, Weird Baby Shower

Owen Thomas · 01/16/09 12:33PM

Googlers do things differently. But Google's founders are quirkier than you might imagine. Take the diaper-fetish party Larry Page threw to celebrate the coming birth of Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki's first child.

Lazy Michael J. Fox discovered disease too late

Owen Thomas · 12/05/08 03:20PM

If only Michael J. Fox, the actor and professional Parkinson's disease victim, had been an Internet genius like Google cofounder Sergey Brin, think of the good he might have done.

I'm born lucky

Owen Thomas · 11/20/08 07:00PM

Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Sergey Brin, is exceedingly pregnant — and Brin himself has been spotted at the maternity ward. What will their baby look like? Wojcicki's genetic-testing startup, 23andMe, lets you spit into a vial and get a map to your genetic future. MakeMeBabies is not nearly as scientific, but we thought we'd run the couple's photos through to get a glimpse of their future progeny. Can you suggest a caption for the billionaire baby to be? The best will become the post's new headline. Yesterday's winner: "French blue shirt, khakis shortage hits Valley hard." (Image by MakeMeBabies)

Google heir born? Sergey Brin spotted at maternity ward

Owen Thomas · 11/20/08 06:20PM

What to expect when you're expecting a billionaire? A tipster reports seeing Google cofounder Sergey Brin running into a hospital, orange Crocs and all. Here's what that means: His wife, Anne Wojcicki, is nine months pregnant with the couple's first child — who will be born into a fortune still worth $10 billion or more, even with Google shares plummeting. The spot where Brin was sighted, El Camino Hospital, has one of the Bay Area's best childbirth practices, and is close to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. When we last saw Wojcicki, she was on Oprah talking about 23andMe, her genetics-testing startup, with the TV host herself begging Wojcicki to give birth already. It's possible that Brin was just there to tour the hospital, a common practice before birth, but his haste suggested otherwise, our tipster claims:

Sergey Brin's very pregnant wife on Oprah

Owen Thomas · 11/14/08 08:00PM

How long ago did we learn Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google cofounder Sergey Brin, was pregnant with the couple's first child? April, which was seven months ago. What a clever idea, to have a baby as a publicity stunt for her startup! It got her on Oprah. On the talk show, Wojcicki disclosed that she's nine months pregnant. "Please have the baby right now!" said the talk-show host. Wojcicki then jumped right into an infomercial for 23andMe's genetic-testing service and her nonprofit work on Parkinson's, a condition for which Brin is at risk. Free advertising for someone whose husband is worth billions of dollars: There is a reason the rich are rich.

Why Time gave 23andMe a prize

Owen Thomas · 11/03/08 03:20PM

Time's Anita Hamilton is refreshingly honest about why the magazine has picked 23andMe, the mail-order DNA testing outfit, as one of its top innovations of 2008: Anne Wojcicki, the startup's cofounder, is married to Google cofounder Sergey Brin. Few outlets are as forthright in displaying their motivations for celebrating 23andMe, arguably the least innovative and least scientific of the retail DNA tests on the market. Give Anne Wojcicki a prize, and her loyal husband will attend the awards ceremony. It's a great way to get Googler star power on the cheap.

Google founder's journalist mother-in-law writes blimp infomercial

Owen Thomas · 10/31/08 02:00PM

Esther Wojcicki, known as "Woj" at Palo Alto High School, where she teaches journalism, is a beloved figure on campus. She's also quite welcome at the Googleplex, as the mother of Anne Wojcicki, who's married to Google cofounder Sergey Brin, and Google executive Susan Wojcicki. I wonder if proximity to power and wealth has dulled Woj's reportorial instincts.She recently wrote a wide-eyed travelogue for the Huffington Post about the first flight of the Zeppelin NT, a blimp launched by startup Airship Ventures. Airship is backed by Esther Dyson, who is also an investor in her daughter Anne's startup, 23andMe. That, at the least, Woj ought to have disclosed. (I've asked Mario Ruiz, an executive at Huffington Post, if she violated any of the online publication's disclosure rules for writers; he has yet to reply. But if she really wanted to impress her students with her journalism chops, Woj might have asked questions about Amphitheatre LLC, the shadowy entity which has also invested in Airship Ventures. Amphitheatre shares a name with the street address of Google's headquarters — and possibly more. I would love to have known what Woj would have discovered, had she been less interested in promoting her daughter's investor's new startup.

Google secretly investing in zeppelins?

Owen Thomas · 10/27/08 04:40PM

Zeppelins went out of style when the Hindenburg went down in flames over New Jersey. But Airship Ventures, a startup backed by quirky angel investor Esther Dyson, is trying to bring them back. With a little help from Dyson's friends. Airship's Zeppelin NT, the first to fly over the U.S. in 70 years, has just completed a transatlantic journey and is scheduled to touch down this afternoon at the Nasa-operated Moffett Field, where it will be permanently stationed, operating aerial tours of the Bay Area. Curious — a private enterprise making use of public lands. Nasa's excuse for hosting the zeppelin: It will be used for scientific investigations and other public-spirited purposes. Where have we heard that before?Why, with the Google founders' fleet of party planes, which are also parked at Moffett Field, with the excuse that they sometimes fly scientific missions. (In fact, the Google founders' jets proved impractical for Nasa's science needs; Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt bought a fighter jet to fly those missions instead.) One of Airship Ventures' backers is an entity called Amphitheatre Holdings. Amphitheatre is incorporated in Delaware under the address of INV Tax Group, which Google may have purchased in a real-estate transaction two years ago. Google's headquarters is at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, Calif. This hardly seems like coincidence. Dyson is an investor in 23andMe, the Google-backed startup of Anne Wojcicki, wife of founder Sergey Brin. Has Dyson taken Google's shareholders for a ride, by having them take a hidden stake in a blimp startup?

How Sergey Brin can avoid Parkinson's Disease

Jackson West · 09/19/08 10:00AM

Google cofounder Sergey Brin has popped his blogging cherry, using his first post as an excuse to promote his wife Anne Wojcicki's personal genetic testing company 23andMe. Turns out Brin has a genetic mutation likely inherited from his mother that indicates a higher risk for Parkinson's Disease — a debilitating condition that affects movement, resulting in tremors and eventual paralysis. Which would certainly be a terrible fate for a gymnast who loves kite-surfing. Brin has "decades to prepare for it," though. My suggestion?Brin should do what many in the health-obsessed Valley unilaterally shun: Take up smoking, as nicotine has been shown to have a prophylactic effect on the degeneration of dopamine-producing brain cells in mice.