A new Google search feature is making it easier to find details on more than 900 different health conditions. These include everything from common conditions like pink eye to tropical diseases like dengue fever.
Earlier this year, the company introduced a new search feature specifically for medical information. Whenever people search for certain diseases or health conditions, a separate box pops up to the right of the search results, with details like symptoms and treatments. Initially, the feature was available for 400 conditions — but now Google is more than doubling that number.
Health conditions are among the most frequently searched topics in the Google database
Health conditions are among the most frequently searched topics in their database, Google said in February, when they initially launched the initiative. Before the new search feature launched, information from reputable sources on various health conditions didn’t automatically pop up. Google worked with the Mayo Clinic and a team of doctors to make sure the most relevant — and most trustworthy — information showed up for health-related searches.
Along with adding 500 more diseases to this search feature, Google is also making design improvements to the information boxes. Now if you search specifically for a disease's symptoms, the symptoms will show up in the box first. There's also an option to print out a PDF of the information so patients can bring it to a doctor.
This feature should not be used to diagnose patients or prescribe medical advice; it's strictly for providing information, Google says. However, the company hopes the information will also allow people to make more informed decisions about their health.