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Google adds crucial medical information to its search results

Identifying health issues needs accuracy, but it can also require speed and now Google can provide users with all the relevant medical information they need in just a fraction of a second.

Now when users search Google for common health concerns, they’ll receive information immediately in the search engine’s Knowledge Graph. The Knowledge Graph was added to the firm’s search results in 2012 and looks to provide detailed information about the chosen topic, without the user having to click on any of the provided links.

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Users will now be shown typical symptoms, information on potential treatments, as well as whether the condition is contagious. While the information is not intended to replace a fully qualified medical professional, it could give individuals peace of mind or enable them to ask their doctor more relevant questions.

“We worked with a team of medical doctors (led by our own Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D.) to carefully compile, curate, and review this information,” explained Prem Ramaswami, Google’s product manager. “All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy.”

Mr Ramaswami was inspired to implement the feature after struggling to find medical information quickly and easily after his son fell and potentially had concussion. The service should also receive plenty of use, as one in 20 Google search queries are for health-related information.

The new feature will be rolled out in the US over the next few days, but the search engine giant has already confirmed plans to expand the service, encompassing more medical conditions and many other markets.

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The firm will be hoping that the feature proves more successful than Google Health, which was discontinued back in 2012.

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.