Google, almighty oracle of everything from movie times to marriage proposals, has just swallowed another industry whole.
World: meet Dr Google.
Today, it announced the launch of its new ‘health condition cards’, a catalogue of accurate medical information written by doctors for people searching online.
The cards will appear as a featured result in the Google search engine, and include the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment suggestions and prevalence of the condition searched.
LET THE SELF DIAGNOSIS BEGIN.
Google is already the first point of call for many people looking to find more information when they’re feeling unwell. Or have a strange rash. Or a mole that is starting to look cancerous. Wait, can you take a look at this? Does this look cancerous to you?
Sydney Breast Clinic, on breast screenings. (Post continues after video)
Google project manager Isobel Solaqua spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald this morning, and was quick to point out that the site is not intended to replace the services of doctors or health professionals.
“These health cards are meant to provide basic information about health conditions and a framework to help users dive deeper across the web and do deeper research as well as to have more informed conversations with their doctors,” said Ms. Solaqua.
The cards have been available on the US version of Google since 2015, and have had a great deal of interest. In a country in which health insurance is crucial, yet unaffordable to most, having accurate medical information at everyone’s fingertips was a massive step forward.
According to Google, one in twenty searches are medical related - which means we're either a bunch of hypochondriacs or people are just genuinely concerned with their health. Either way, the chances of you diagnosing yourself with a rare Indonesian tapeworm just became significantly lower.
But, as always, a real-life human doctor is your best bet.
Yes, even for the embarassing stuff.