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Google Now Serving Fact-Checked Medical Search Results

So 99% of medical searches will just return links for hypochondria, then?



There’s a lot of great, in-depth health information on the Internet, but there’s also a lot of weirdos who hate any medical advice more modern than, “I’ll need to check your humours.” Now Google will help all the hypochondriacs (and actual sick people whose doctors may or may not be failing them) out there with fact-checked medical search results.

That won’t stop people from disagreeing with the medical information returned by the 5% of Google searches that are health-related, but according to their blog post on the subject, the company doesn’t intend for it to substitute for actual medical advice. Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager at Google wrote,

Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.

That doesn’t mean these search results are intended as medical advice. 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.

The feature is rolling out in the U.S. first with plans to add information for more conditions and more countries in the future. The new results, which have been fact-checked by Google’s own medical team as well as doctors at the Mayo Clinic, will show up at the top of search results thanks to the Knowledge Graph. That means they’ll just be extra, encyclopedic information and still leave all of the other, more factually ambiguous information for you to obsess over sift through for yourself.

(via Wired, image via Tabitha Kaylee Hawk)

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.