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Google to Better Answer Health Queries with Symptom Search

Zacks Equity Research

Those days are near when Google doc will have two meanings, Google document and Google doctor. Seems interesting?

Well, we expect this to happen as the Alphabet Inc. GOOGL owned search giant Google has just rolled out a new search feature known as symptom search that will enhance the accuracy of search results associated with health problems.

How Does it Work?

If you search for a particular symptom, you will see a few digital cards below the search box. Swiping each card will reveal some common health problems and symptoms associated with your query.

The cards will state self-treatment options, if available, and suggest whether a particular problem is serious enough to visit a doctor.

Google is using the Knowledge Graph feature for its new effort, which is backed by experts from Harvard Medical School and the Mayo Clinic. The company will cross check web results with quality medical information obtained from its knowledge graph before generating content on the digital cards to make it more useful than before.

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Benefits for Patients and Doctors

Apart from providing enhanced search results to people who have (or have a feeling of having) health problems, the new feature will gradually curb the practice of self diagnosis, a tendency that’s increasing at an alarming rate due to the widespread reach of the Internet.

The goal is to prevent patients from falling prey to inaccurate medical advice on the web. The feature will encourage patients to avoid self-diagnosis and take professional medical advice as and when necessary.

Doctors, on the other hand, will no longer have to educate misguided patients before starting with the right treatment.

The new feature will be initially available in the U.S. through Android apps, iOS and google.com.  Google will extend this service to other countries and in more languages sometime later.

At present, Google has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology space are Facebook, Inc. FB, CommVault Systems, Inc. CVLT and  OptimizeRx Corporation OPRX, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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