Doctor Google Will Diagnose Hypochondriacs' Web Searches

By Gerald Lynch on at

As anyone that's ever searched for the source of the ailments on Google will attest to, the internet's not always the best place to go looking for health advice. Veer at all away from trusted medical practitioneers websites and onto forums full of user diagnoses, and you could quickly find yourself coughing up for snake oil to cure a disease that's been benign for centuries.

Google's looking to make searching for health advice a little easier by building trustworthy information right into its search engine's results.

Working with a team of doctors and taking advantage of the Google Knowledge Graph (the same tool that presents a relevant Wikipedia page snippet based on your search terms), Google Search will now present you with "typical symptoms and treatments", as well as how serious your condition is and whether or not you should be finalising your will.

OK, not that last bit, but it should be a fairly robust way of getting a quick glimpse at reliable information based on your symptoms.

"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," said Google product manager Prem Ramaswami in a blog post.

Anything that keeps me out of the GP's waiting room gets the thumbs up from me. [Google]