Dr. House would be proud, Google. The Knowledge Graph continues to spread into the search results. No more top-10 results and few ads. Enter your symptoms on a mobile device and Google will carousel out potential health conditions you can annoy your primary care doctor about.
It’s no longer the WebMD educated patients of the world. Now it’s GoogleMD. Type in a range of symptoms like ‘headache on one side’ and you see a list of potential problems. Everything from you have a headache – you don’t say Google – to possible migraines and other conditions.
The new mobile search results will even offer up potential treatments you can do at home – probably put down the phone – and tests and treatments you are likely to undergo at the doctor’s office.
Why the new feature? It has been on desktop SERPs for a bit, and Google reports nearly 1% of all searches are health related. The new carousel and search results are products of the top minds in the medical field. Both the Mayo Clinic and Harvard Medical School have poured over the results and the related conditions to check for accuracy.
Each result has citations built in so the user can see where the information is from.
Damn, no more thinking a sprained ankle is a brain tumor? Where’s the fun in that?
All House jokes aside, Google’s health search is a welcome one. You honestly don’t know what symptom will lead you to a diagnosis that is completely unexpected and catches an illness early on while it is easy to treat.
Sure, entering headache on one side is more than likely to lead you down the path of you have a simple headache. Take a break from staring at the screen all day and get some rest.
But if it’s unusual enough for you to Google it, going to the doctor doesn’t make you overly worried. Trust me; I hate needles, and if I can avoid the doctor, I’m avoiding the doctor. But at some point, don’t ignore symptoms. If it’s nothing, you can joke around with family and friends about being stressed out. The flipside is if it’s something, you put yourself in a better position to treat or cure the problem. We all have to pay for health insurance. May as well make the absurd premiums worth it.
Just don’t start punching in random blood test results while waiting on CT scan results. At some point, step back from the keyboard and let the doctors do their job. I’ve learned that lesson the past month and in particular the past week.
There is such a thing as peak Google. It’s the point where you have just enough information to scare the hell out of yourself while waiting for a definitive word.
The rollout for mobile devices is starting today in the United States and English. Other countries and languages are planned in a gradual rollout. Expect the search results to tighten up as Google refines the knowledge graph for the myriad of symptom-based health searches.
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