Google plays doctor by providing symptom information in its search results

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Google has announced improvements in its search algorithm that will help provide more accurate information for when users search for health symptoms.

Google said that around 1 percent of searches daily – millions – are related to people searching for information on health symptoms.

But search results are not always clear and can often be confusing, which results in causing “unnecessary anxiety and stress”, Google said in an official blog post.

By rolling out the new feature, Google hopes to reduce these problems and make it easier for people to find out what may be wrong with them.

Based on people’s searches, Google has worked with Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic to create a list of symptoms.

Google Symptoms Search

Rather than searching for a certain condition, users can now search of a symptom, something like “my stomach hurts”.

Google will then return an overview of potential conditions, as well as possible treatments, and which type of doctor you may need to see.

“For individual symptoms like ‘headache,’ we’ll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit,” wrote product manager Veronica Pinchin wrote in a blog post.

“By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.”

The new health feature is only currently available on mobile and not on the desktop site and is only in the United States, although Google has said it will be making the feature available in other languages and countries.

 

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