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Google is one step closer to becoming a doctor

Google Symptom Search

What’s the very first thing you do when you feel an unfamiliar symptom coming on? Unless there’s a doctor in the other room, chances are that you head straight to Google in hopes that you can figure out what’s ailing you with the help of the internet. This often leads you down a seemingly endless rabbit hole of potential sicknesses and diseases, culminating in needless stress and worrying.

Google wants to simplify this process once and for all.

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In the coming days, a Google search for any given symptom will turn up a list of “health conditions related to this search” at the top of the page. For example, if you search for “headache on one side,” you’ll see a scrolling list of cards at the top of the page for “headache,” “migraine,” “common cold” and other possible causes.

If you search for a more broad symptom, like “skin rash,” Google will give you a detailed description of the symptom, a list of common causes and even some self-treatment options in case it doesn’t warrant a doctor’s visit.

“We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our Knowledge Graph,” explains Veronica Pinchin, Product Manager at Google. “We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.”

As always, Google wants everyone to remember that an internet search result is not meant to take the place of actual medical advice from a doctor. If you want medical advice, consult a physician — that’s what they’re there for.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.