So the last time you were ill, what did you do to diagnose yourself? Did you sit back and accept it’s the latest bout of office-borne man flu or did you perhaps think there was something critically wrong with you? We reckon that the majority of people reading this blog post will have at some time Googled their own symptoms.
Don’t believe us? According to Google, approximately one per cent of all searches made are symptom-related. One per cent may sound minimal, but this still equates to millions of searches each and every day.
In light of this, Google has recently announced plans to make its symptom-related search results more specific and reliable, and could even recommend whether you should seek medical advice (which lets be honest, you might want to consider as a more reliable form of healthcare than a search engine!).
Introducing symptom search…
Often find yourself scrolling through streams of forums in a desperate attempt to find a cure to your sickness? With so many sources available, and varying opinions, finding sound medical advice online can be more painful than it’s worth. How do you know that this person fervently typing away at the other end of an internet forum is really a doctor, and not Ken from Kansas, waiting for his pop tarts to pop in the kitchen?
Food for thought in more ways than one…
But, has Google found the remedy to millions of people’s searches? In the last week, Google has revealed its working with a team of medical doctors and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic (this is impressive and not another food related mention) to ‘gather high-quality medical information’ which they will then link to commonly searched symptoms. The birth of symptom search could be here.
Will it give me a diagnosis?
Although it won’t be able to identify exactly what the problem is, Google is making it easier for people to explore health conditions related to their symptoms. For example, if you search for symptoms related to a ‘headache on one side’, Google will show a list of related conditions. Meanwhile, single search symptoms such as ‘headache’ will bring up an overview description along with information on self-treatment and advise whether you should visit a doctor.
Should I see a doctor?
Although Google’s new update aims to help people get more ‘in-depth research’ related to their symptoms quickly, it has stressed the symptom search is ‘intended for information purposes only’ and people should always consult with their doctor. Completely understandable – it is a search engine and not a doctor after all!
When is it being rolled out?
The symptom search is currently being trialled on mobile in the US initially, but they’re saying that over time they hope to cover more symptoms and extend the update internationally and with other languages.
Watch this space… but go to a doctor in the meantime!