• Medical experts partner with Google to improve online symptom searching

Harvard Medical School and medical research group Mayo Clinic have been working with Google on a project which aims to improve and streamline symptom searching.

In consultation with the two medical organisations, the search engine giant has created millions of ‘condition cards’ which correlate to millions of different symptom searches. The cards provide a brief description of the condition, along with self-treatment options and advice on whether to seek further treatment.

Although these aren’t designed to replace medical professionals, they can offer a starting point for more research or for a discussion with a doctor.

Veronica Pinchin, product manager at Google, said: “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. 

“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.”

She also said that Google would maximise user feedback in order to continually improve the service. 

Although symptom search is currently only available in the US in English, Google plans to roll it out internationally and in multiple languages in the future.