Like it or not, instead of heading straight to a doctor, people tend to ask Google first when they’re feeling under the weather. This is why the company has just announced a new symptoms search feature that helps you better understand what might be going on in your body.
According to Google, roughly 1% of searches on its platforms are symptoms related – that’s millions of searches. Sadly, as most of you may know, you will often get results with complicating medical terms that may lead you to believe that your mild symptoms may lead to scary and unlikely conditions.
The update on Google will show you a list of related conditions when you search your symptoms. For example, when you search for “headache on one side”, Google will return you a list of related conditions like headache, migraine, tension headache, cluster headache, sinusitis and common cold. For certain search, Google will also give an overview description along with information on self-treatment options, and recommend you to visit a doctor when necessary.
The symptoms list created by Google is done by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and checking them against “high-quality medical information” collected from doctors for knowledge Graph”. Google also says that they have worked with “a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists”.
Of course, this new update isn’t designed to eliminate the need of visiting a doctor. It is only a guidance, and everyone should consult a doctor for medical advice. The update will be rolled out on mobile over the next few days and will only be available in English in the U.S. to start. Google will be updating to cover more symptoms and will extend this to other languages and internationally.