It’s OK to Cough, Vomit and Sneeze on Google

This week Google prescribed a new search result for 400 of the most common medical search terms. If you ask your smartphone about the “common cold” you will get the following result on the right side. Interestingly enough on the top ad section there was an ad for Vicks. Guess is what listed when you click on treatments? Thats right. I’m not sure if this was on purpose or coincidence πŸ˜‰

common cold resultWith that said, this is a pretty amazing addition to the “Google knows what you want” category. This had to have WebMD and others a little scared. Does it have doctors nervous? Probably not. Most people may medicate for what they know they have but Google is not diagnosing here. People are guessing at what they think they might have. That is what’s a little scary. People will be diagnosing themselves as they search.

There are already several companies like Health Tap that offer doctors advice via your smartphone or computer. You can talk to each other, get diagnosed and prescribed something. All this for the regular cost of a visit – maybe cheaper. This would be a nice compliment to the Google search results.

Get info about medical conditions

When you search for a medical condition, you’ll see three tabs: About, Symptoms, and Treatments. Right now, Google shows this medical information for the most frequently searched for health conditions, and they will continue to increase the number of conditions.

What makes Google an authority on medical diagnosis?

So far, 400 of the most common medical search terms β€” from arthritis to pinkeye β€” have received this treatment. Chicken Pox, for example, features a drawing of two children with spots, followed by comments such as “Rare” and “Medically treatable by a doctor or professional.”

“An average of 11 doctors have vetted each fact, and all (of the 400 conditions) were then reviewed by the Mayo Clinic,” Amit Singhal, Google’s vice president in charge of search, tells USA TODAY. “And this is just a start.”

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