Googling information about a symptom is one of the first things that people do when they have a stomach ache or a fever, even before they reach out to their family doctors.
Google has introduced new health cards in the Knowledge Graph that will help anyone in India search for health information more quickly. One in 20 Google searches are for health-related information,” said a Google blog announcing the new feature. When people ask Google about common health conditions, they will see information cards with typical symptoms, as well as details on how common the condition is. The cards were introduced on Tuesday in India. The feature is available in English and Hindi and covers around 400 diseases Details will also be available on how critical it is, if it’s contagious, what age groups it affects, and more. Google worked with Apollo Hospitals and Columbia Asia Hospitals to review the content and the health information covers over 400 health conditions, including those common to India, like malaria and dengue fever.
As connectivity can sometimes be a challenge in India, Google will automatically load a “lighter” version of the cards when a slow connection is detected so people can get to the information they need quickly. India is also the third country after the US and Brazil to have health information in the Knowledge Graph, and the content has been specifically designed for the Indian context, claims Google.
People will be able to see the new cards when they search for conditions with the Google app on Android or iOS devices, as well as desktop browsers. For some conditions, Google will also offer high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators. One can also search by symptom, for example, if one looks up “Madras eye symptoms”, they will be taken straight to the symptom tab and users can then download a PDF copy of these to print as well.
Google stated in a press statement that these search results are not intended as medical advice, but for informational purposes only. People should always consult a medical professional if they have a health related concern.
Prem Ramaswami, Senior Product Manager at Google said, “Around the world, health conditions are among the most important things that people ask Google about. In fact, one in 20 searches are for health-related information. We worked closely with a team of local and international doctors to curate and validate this information, including Apollo Hospitals and the Columbia Asia Hospitals here in India. During product development we also consulted the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and ASHAs, who are community health workers, to ensure the information on the cards is useful and accessible.”
Google, however, makes it clear that these cards cannot be a replacement for medical consultation and is only aimed at helping you ask the right questions to your doctor and have quick access to basic information about a disease.