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Google Teams with Kinvey to Get Health Apps on its Cloud

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It’s become a mobile-first world, or so we’re told. Which is why Google is working with mobile software specialist Kinvey to help software developers build healthcare applications that meet HIPAA requirements without paying a ton for their own servers and other tech gear.

The Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act of 1996 was adopted to ensure that electronic patient data is safe and secure from prying eyes.

Google (GOOG) and Boston-based Kinvey have partnered before to enable developers using Kinvey development tools to run their apps on Google App Engine as well as on Kinvey’s own service.

Kinvey says its mobile client encrypts all data “at rest” and it uses 256-bit SSL certificates to secure that same data as it is transmitted. Kinvey’s technology also provides tracking and reporting to show where the data flows and who has access to it.

This collaboration “is about launching a complete HIPAA-compliant platform, running completely on Google Compute Cloud,” said Kinvey chief executive Sravish Sridhar. This makes GCP the first public cloud with HIPAA-compliant mobile development platform, he claimed.

A public cloud a la Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft (MSFT)Azure, or Amazon (AMZN)Web Services, is a huge set of servers, storage and networking owned and run by one company it then rents out to customers who don’t want to build more of their own data centers.

Broadly speaking, this is an interesting era in mobile apps. Microsoft, which preaches its “mobile-first, cloud first” mantra every chance it gets, finally bought Xamarin, a company that specializes in cross-platform app development, last year. Microsoft wants developers to use its Azure cloud to create and deliver mobile apps that run across Apple, Android, and Windows devices. IBM (IBM) and Apple (AAPL) have also teamed up to build enterprise-worthy iOS applications for iPhones and iPads.

And then there’s AWS, the biggest provider of shared public cloud services, which has also increased its focus on mobile app development.

Google Says its Cloud is Open for Business

At the same time, specialized mobile application development platforms are going the way of the dodo bird. Ebay (EBAY) bought Stackmob, a Kinvey competitor in 2013 and shut it down the following year. Likewise, Facebook recently closed down Parse, the mobile app development platform it acquired several years ago.

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Kinvey (and Google’s) pitch is that their new partnership gives developers in the pharmaceutical, life sciences and healthcare sectors a secure and HIPAA-compliant way to build and deploy their apps on the Google Cloud Platform.

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That gives Google’s cloud services a bit more of the enterprise credibility that the team is seeking under Google senior vice president Diane Greene.