We're a global nation of hypochondriacs; Google has revealed that 5 per cent of search traffic comes from people looking for health and well-being information. To help with any queries you might have about your body and different conditions, the search giant has furnished Knowledge Graph with a raft of medical data.
Got a funny looking rash? Google could help you to determine whether you have something to worry about, or whether it's something that's likely to clear up on its own. Knowledge is power, and medical knowledge is what Google is trying to arm people with to avoid the worry that comes with uncertainty.
The problem with Googling health problem is that, ordinarily, the results that are thrown up are entirely uncurated. You might find some valuable advice, but you are equally likely to find quack advice which is potentially dangerous. The difference with the medical information made available through Knowledge Graph is that real doctors have been involved in information-gathering and fact-checking.
Introducing the feature in a post on the Google blog, Prem Ramaswami said:
Of course Google wants to protect its back -- there's no guarantee that data provided through the Knowledge Graph is one hundred percent accurate, and it's certainly not going to be a complete replacement for visiting your doctor. There's the disclaimer:
The feature will be rolling out over the next few days, and can be accessed on phones, tablets and computers -- just ask natural-language questions. For now it's US-only, but there are plans for a wider release as well as information about more conditions and treatments.