Google Launches Symptom Search

In a recent blog post titled “I’m Feeling Yucky,” Google announced a new initiative to help users more easily navigate health content on the web.

About 1 percent of searches on Google are symptom-related, according to the company. But health content on the web, Google noted, can be difficult to navigate and has the ability to lead people from mild symptoms to unlikely conditions.

In order to provide more accurate health information, Google teamed up with Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School to refine search results.

“When you ask Google about symptoms like ‘headache on one side,’ we’ll show you a list of related conditions (‘headache,’ ‘migraine,’ ‘tension headache,’ ‘cluster headache,’ ‘sinusitis,’ and ‘common cold’). 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 blog post noted.

“By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional,” the blog post continued.

Google created the list of symptoms by researching health conditions highlighted in web results and then checking the conditions against information collected from doctors in Google’s Knowledge Graph. Doctors reviewed the symptom information while experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches.

Google is rolling out this symptom search update on its mobile app.

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