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article imageFeeling ill? Google will now help you find some relief

By James Walker     Jun 20, 2016 in Technology
When you're feeling ill, chances are you turn to Google for help, searching for your symptoms to find some relief. According to Google, 1 percent of all searches are people doing this so it has created a special experience to help you find aid faster.
Announced in a blog post today, Google has created special symptom cards that will appear at the top of search results when looking for specific illnesses. They'll show up on mobile devices to begin with and should make their way to the web in the future.
Like with so many other things, people increasingly treat Google as their doctor, asking it to find the best medication for a headache or cold. Until today, the search engine didn't display such information itself though. You'd have to navigate through a myriad of slow health sites and medical directories, all while feeling under the weather and wanting relief as soon as possible.
Google now displays quick information on common medical symptoms
Google now displays quick information on common medical symptoms
"Picture this: you woke up today with a headache. It's been getting worse all day, and you aren't sure if you should be worried or not," Google said by example. "So you open the Google app and start searching for your symptoms. 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!"
Starting in the coming days, this situation will change. Like when searching for the news or weather, asking Google to search for conditions such as "headache," "migraine," "sinusitis" and "common cold" will display a clear card of information right at the top of the results.
The data will include a short overview description of the symptoms and condition, details of how to treat the issue yourself and an explanation of when to consult a doctor. You'll be able to find the best medication for common health problems with just a few taps, or directly from a Google Now voice command.
The data has been compiled by experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic based on related conditions for a representative sample of medically-oriented searches. Google's Knowledge Graph then indexes the symptoms to create high-quality medical information to display to users.
However, as with all medical advice online, Google advises you should never assume the information cards are accurate or represent the actual condition you are suffering from. The feature is intended to be used strictly for informational purposes. Professional medical attention should always be received if you are in doubt or are experiencing serious or severe symptoms.
The feature has been developed as a direct response to user demand. With personal health queries representing 1 percent of all worldwide searches, Google sees millions of people ask for medical relief every day.
It wants to deliver simple and accessible information that doesn't escalate mild symptoms into the "scary and unlikely conditions" that online self-diagnosis so often causes. It follows last year's addition of search cards for specific medical conditions, such as tonsillitis and celiac disease.
The update will go live on mobile devices in the U.S. in the coming days. Initially, the service will only be available in English but Google plans to extend it to more languages and regions over time. Results will be accompanied by a prompt to rate results as helpful or unhelpful, letting Google better tailor the feature to users' needs.
More about Google, Google Search, google now, google app, Search results
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