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Google invests in genetics firm

Google has taken a stake in a biotech company co-founded by the wife of one of the search engine giant's bosses.

In a statement, 23andMe said Google, which invested $3.9 million (£1.97 million), was one of a number of firms that had taken stakes in the company. It was set up by Anne Wojcicki, who married Google co-founder Sergey Brin earlier this month. 23andMe aims to help consumers understand more about their genetic make-up, such as inherited traits. Genentech, New Enterprise Associates and MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures were among the other companies that took stakes in the company. "Achieving this significant funding milestone enables us to move forward with our core mission of connecting people with their genetic information," said 23andMe fellow co-founder Linda Avey.

Getting personal
According to a report in the Financial Times, chief executive Eric Schmidt said Google believes personal information will be one of the firm's key avenues of future expansion. "The algorithms will get better and we will get better at personalization," he was quoted as saying. "The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?' and 'What job shall I take?'" The group recently relaunched its iGoogle service which allows users to publish their own content on a personalized Google homepage. News of the investment comes a month after Google bought web advertising network Doubleclick in a $3.1 billion (£1.6 billion) deal. (news.bbc.co.uk)