Google Is Combatting Self-Diagnosis With Fact-Checked Results

Google Wants To Diagnose Your Cold

This may come as something of a surprise, but one in 20 Google searches are health-related. To try an combat this new wave of people Googling their illnesses, the search engine is looking to get its facts right.

Starting today and rolling out in the US, health searches will now contain fact-checked medical information provided through Google's own Knowledge Graph - the section of search that shows Google's own content.

The cards will show everything from symptoms, the likelihood of it being contagious and advice on what to do next.

This new initiative was outlined today in a blog post by Prem Ramaswami, the Product Manager at Google that decided to implement the feature.

Speaking from experience at using Google for medical information, Ramaswami decided to team up with Google's own doctors and experts at the Mayo Clinic to create the cards.

As he points out though, "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."

It's often suggested that Googling your illness is a terrible idea, often leading to mis-diagnosis and unnecessary concern, however in the cases where it can prove to be life-saving, Google is clearly looking to step up in its responsibility to share factually correct information first and foremost.

The service will initially roll out in the US in English but Google's hoping to expand it as time goes on.


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