Jun 22, 2016

    Google to improve health search results on mobile app


    WHETHER it is a tummyache or a pain in the knee, Google is working to come up with better answers to questions on specific health issues.

    It says around 1 per cent of all Internet searches are "symptom-related" but that health content online "can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress".

    On Monday, the search giant said it was upgrading its health results for its mobile application in English in collaboration with Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic.

    This will provide the most likely diagnoses in a box at the top of search results in a move aimed at helping users cut through the clutter, although it is not intended as a substitute for a doctor's opinion.

    "When you ask Google about symptoms like 'headache on one side', we'll show you a list of related conditions," product manager Veronica Pinchin said in a blog post.

    "For individual symptoms like 'headache', we'll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor's visit," the post added.

    Google said the new search would be rolled out on mobile in the United States in the coming days before extending to other languages and internationally.