Your throat hurts. Your head is throbbing. Could it be the common cold? Could it be the rare disease your co-worker was talking about over the water cooler? Google now lets users navigate through information regarding mild and common symptoms and ailments.
Google Product Manager Veronica Pinchin stated that the goal of the app was so that users can avoid the unnecessary stress and anxiety that often accompanies symptom searches. She remarked, "After 20 minutes digging through health forums, chances are you're overwhelmed by all the complicated medical terms and breaking out in a sweat—whether that’s related to the headache or the overdose of info is unclear!”
Roughly one percent of Google searches (which for Google is in the millions) are symptom-related. Google created a list of symptoms by looking at health conditions mentioned in web results and checking them against the medical information they gathered from doctors through its Knowledge Graph. Google then worked with a team of medical doctors and experts at Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic.
When users Google a symptom such as “headache on the side”, a list of potential conditions will pop up. The results will appear on the top of the screen in a carousel. If a user searches something general such as “headache”, Google will provide an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit.
In the few weeks after the launch, users will be asked whether or not the new feature is helpful. These results will help Google to refine the search and add more symptoms. There are currently about nine hundred symptoms in the database. The update will roll out on mobile in the new few days in English in the United States. Google is currently working on a desktop version. The Google app is intended for information purposes only, so please consult a doctor for real medical advice.