Google adds medical information to search results

Diagrams and advice to be added to the service

IMAGE: BigStock Photo

For those who are weary (or wary) of obtaining medical information off the internet, the assistance they seek may now have a tad more credibility, as Google is to begin rolling out a feature that will provide information on “common” medical conditions.

The new feature will provide medical illustrations, possible remedies and treatments amongst other helpful data and links to sites that might provide more details.

Prem Ramaswami said on that Google blog that:

“We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information.

“All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.”

That said, Google also reminds users that the feature does not necessarily mean that the results are intended as medical advice, presumably because it doesn’t want to be liable for any misinformation, or people relying on the service in lieu of going to the doctor.

Google aren’t the only company that is becoming increasingly interested in medical care however, as both Apple and Nike have ploughed hundreds of millions into apps, software and hardware designed to make people more conscious about their health.

According to The Verge both Apple and Google are planning to “reinvent healthcare” in the US, going on to say that:

“At WWDC Apple announced its partnership with Epic, which now manages over 51 percent of the patient records in the United States.

“With a single deal Apple could begin absorbing health data on more than half of US patients. Their doctors, in turn, could begin to see what’s happening with their patients in between visits.”

As it has been pointed out elsewhere, Google’s move into medical information isn’t really anything new, as it has been providing this for years, but via third-party sources; not all of them credible. By using its own information however, it is able to build up trust and assist its Google Fit app, and quite possibly, keeping it a nose hair ahead of Apple’s HealthKit app.