Google’s new health tool
Feeling under the weather? First instinct, reach for the paracetamol, second, scour Google for answers to your symptoms. After scrolling through endless pages of often terrifying results you end up feeling more unwell than you originally did. 1% of all Google searches are related to health concerns, with one in five of those searches symptom related.
Google has just confirmed that it is rolling out new health tools to make it easier for people to self diagnose, with a more accurate list of health conditions that could be causing your symptoms. Previous search results, Google felt, left its users with unclear and confusing information, that often led to greater levels of worry and anxiety about what were usually very common, treatable ailments.
The new layout will see Google provide an overview of the symptoms you are experiencing, as well as how to treat yourself and whether seeing a doctor is necessary. The results have been created by Google searching for health conditions already mentioned in its web results, then checking those results against information created by its teams of experts from Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School. Who will check though the individual symptom information and check that the correct information is showing on its search results, providing a more thorough medical overview.
Whilst Google has been keen to stress that the new tool is only meant for informational purposes and that doctors should be contacted for thorough medical advice. The new tool is very welcome in an age where our first instinct is to turn to technology for answers, it’s likely that this is only the beginning of Google’s venture into the lucrative health market.