Google Unveils New Health Search

Paging Dr. Google. When we’re feeling under the weather, the first thing most of us do is Google our symptoms (one in every 20 Google searches is something health-related). But the people at Google know that those searches often return links to sites full of medical jargon—or worse, misinformation. So today the search giant unveiled a new tool, Google Health Search—basically an encyclopedia of common health conditions written in terms you don’t need an medical degree to decipher.

The tool is super simple to use: When you go to Google and search for a health condition (say tonsillitis), you'll find all of the need-to-know information up top, from symptoms to treatments and whether it’s common, critical, or contagious. Some of the health conditions included in Google Health Search even come with illustrations from licensed medical illustrators (so you can see exactly what enlarged tonsils look like). And all of the information is really up to snuff—it’s been cross-checked by a team of doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic.

Not every medical condition you search for will have Google Health Search information, though. The company is starting off with 400 of the most-searched health conditions that range from chronic (type 2 diabetes, celiac disease) to frequent and not urgent (pink eye) to rare (ALS, progeria).

The new tool won’t always prevent a trip to the doctor’s, but it’s the perfect way to calm you down—chances are you aren’t dying—and set you on the path to recovery.

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