If you have ever used the internet to try and self diagnose yourself after feeling a little under the weather, but have found the results you got unhelpful or confusing, you could be interested in Google’s latest health search announcement.
In a blog post, Google explained that internet users searching for a specific combination of symptoms or one symptom will now often get a list of potentially related health conditions, and used a search for ‘abdominal pain on my right side’ as an example.
Those typing this query into the Google search box will now be taken to search results showing a list of conditions including appendicitis, kidney stones and irritable bowel syndrome, which the search engine said is designed to make it “easier and faster to research symptoms and related health conditions”.
Search results for health queries are still going to be created by Google’s algorithms, and will not have any human input, so Google is keen to point out that any results seen following a search should not be taken as medical advice, and that the list of related conditions is not authored by a doctor.
Many of us turn to the internet for help when feeling unwell and a poll in late 2010 published by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that 66 per cent of American internet users searched online for information about a certain disease or issue.
As well as this, 44 per cent also used the internet to search for doctors or other healthcare providers, which is an interesting statistic to any medical company targeting local marketing.