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Google brings Symptom Search to India for better answers to health queries

The new feature will be made available in English and Hindi, on both Android and iOS.

  • Published: February 27, 2018 1:11 PM IST

How many times has it happened with you that you looked up for remedies for headache on Google, and after browsing for a few minutes you ended up believing that you are most probably dying? Well, Google understands how that could turn out, and it started to address the problem about two years ago.

Google was working at improving the way its search engine responds to symptom-related queries, so that such results are accompanied by an overview of the symptom along with the ways for treatment, and when and what would warrant a visit to the doctor. Essentially, Google aimed at integrating a Webmd-like platform within its search results on the mobile. And now that’s come to India. The new feature will be made available in English and Hindi, on both Android and iOS.

Google writes on its blog, “Starting this week, Google will be adding information about commonly searched symptoms. So, when a user searches for symptoms like “cough and pain”, the app will show a list of related conditions (“common cold, acute bronchitis, flu, pneumonia, chest infection”). For individual symptoms like “सिरदर्द ” the app will show digital cards providing users an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit.”

Google is improving what it calls the ‘symptom search’, wherein all health-related search results will be ushered by adequate amount of information for you to get a good overview of the symptom before you break into a panic. This is in case of a general symptom search, for an example, backache. In case of a more specific search, like lower back pain, the search will provide you with a list of related conditions.

Moreover, each result will be accompanied by feedback of users so that Google can further improve its upshots. At the end of each result, users will be asked if it was helpful and catered to their requirement.

However, Google does out a disclaimer here that “it’s important to highlight that these search results are intended for informational purposes only, and users should always consult a doctor for medical advice and treatment.”

Google has teamed up with Apollo Hospital for the initiative. Google has been closely working with Apollo Hospital since 2016 to use the latter’s expertise to improve its health-related searches. The tie up was part of Google’s new initiative ‘Health Cards’ in India. The Health Card aims at providing basic information like symptoms, diagnosis and self-treatment of a disease through Google search in a language that is free of jargons and is easy to understand for a layman.

  • Published Date: February 27, 2018 1:11 PM IST