According to a blog post, one out of 20 Google searches are seeking health-related information. When the new feature launches in a few days, a search for something like “tonsillitis” will include a display that lists symptoms, treatments, and other related medical facts such as how frequently it occurs, or whether it’s contagious.
The move to display medical facts is part of a broader evolution of Google’s search engine to provide answers to queries, and not just links to other websites.
Google cautioned that the service should be used as a starting point for further research or discussions with a doctor, rather than a tool for self diagnosis.
“That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice,” wrote Google product manager Prem Ramaswami. “We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions. What we present is intended for informational purposes only — and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern.”
Google said it worked with a team of physicians to develop the service and gather the information, and that it was reviewed by its own medical doctors as well as the Mayo Clinic.