Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google are symptom-related. This may seem like a small number of searches, but in actuality it is millions. On July 20, 2016, Google released information regarding an update that will help users navigate difficult health content on the web and will hopefully provide them with detailed information regarding their symptoms.
Google’s update will allow users to search for specific symptoms and Google will generate a list of related health conditions. For example, if “headache on one side” was searched for, “migraine” and “cluster headache” are potential related health conditions that could be listed. A general description of the symptom that was searched for will be listed as well and Google will provide information on self-treatment options, and whether a doctor should be consulted. Below is an example of what mobile users will now see on their devices if a symptom search is conducted.
The ultimate goal of this update is to assist users with navigating health conditions related to their symptoms on the web and quickly get them to a point where they can either do more in-depth research online, or consult a medical professional in person.
Google is creating the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results and cross-checking them against high-quality medical information gathered from doctors for their Knowledge Graph. The staff at Google has collaborated with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information and the information about related conditions was evaluated by experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic.
Google reminds users that all medical information returned is meant for informational purposes only, and a doctor should always be consulted for medical advice.
The update has newly been released just on mobile devices and is only available in English in the US. Overtime, Google hopes to cover a wider scope of symptoms and to expand to include other languages and be available internationally.