Google is rolling out an update to its Google Search app that will let users find information related to medical symptoms more easily. Now, when a user searches for a specific symptom like “headache on one side,” Google will show them a list of related conditions. For individual conditions such as a headache, it would give an overview description along with information on self-treatment, or if the symptom warrants a doctor's visit. The list of symptoms are created by looking at the health conditions mentioned in the web results, and checking it against medical information that Google has collected for its Knowledge Graph. The company has also worked with a team of experts at the Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic. The feature is currently being rolled out in the US in English, and the company hopes to release it in other countries and languages, soon.
Veronica Pinchin, Product Manager at Google, said in a blog post, “Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.” She has also warned that the symptom search feature is only intended for informational purposes and users are always advised to consult a doctor for medical advice.