Google is rolling out a new feature to improve the quality of health-related searches – which account for one in 20 searches.
The search engine will show medical facts right up front via its Knowledge Graph when people look up medical conditions. The fact table will show information such as symptoms, treatment options, whether the condition is critical, who is likely to be affected, etc.
The company says that with the new feature users can find health information more quickly and easily.
Google partnered up with a team of doctors to ensure that all the information that will appear on its Knowledge Graph will “represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web”.
The picture above shows how the information will be presented. In this case the user searched “What is Tonsillitis?”
Prem Ramaswami, Google Product Manager, posted the news on the company’s blog.
“So starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.”
“We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.”
“That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only—and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.”
Ramaswami said that initially the feature will only be available in the US, however, Google plans on making it available to other parts of the world in the future.
“But we hope this can empower you in your health decisions by helping you learn more about common conditions. We’re rolling it out over the next few days, in the U.S. in English to start. In the long run, not only do we plan to cover many more medical conditions, but we also want to extend this to other parts of the world. So the next time you need info on frostbite symptoms, or treatments for tennis elbow, or the basics on measles, the Google app will be a better place to start.”