We’ve all had that moment when we feel unwell and Google up the symptoms to self-diagnose for free medical advice. Guaranteed, you will have very many results from different sources and distinguishing between the genuine and fake information becomes another task to a point that you can even mistaken a simple allergic reaction for a UTI — or vice versa. Either way, it’s not a joy ride.
According to Google’s blogs, the company is rolling out a feature called symptom search, which is designed to show better results on the Google app for iOS or Android. A search that includes a description like “child with knee pain” will return a list of related conditions.
Typing in simple symptoms like “stomachache” will show a general description of your problem, options for self-treatment, and suggestions on whether or not you should go to see a doctor. Last February, Google launched a condition card which many search results will show you and these may or may not include illustrations. Other search results will appear as cards that you can swipe on or drop-down menus that you can tap to see more information as depicted in the GIF.
How did Google do it?
The company says that about 1% of its searches are symptom-related, so it wanted to do a better job of sending people useful results. Google has created this list of symptoms by turning to its web results to find health conditions, then compared these with the medical information from doctors that it uses for its Knowledge Graph. Google also got help from experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic.
Google plans on expanding this symptom search from US- and English-only to other countries and languages in the future. And they also hope to bring this to the desktop browser in the future.