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Google's about to get smarter at answering health questions

Google makes it easier to play doctor

Google is the first port of call for many people with health questions one in 20 queries made on the search engine is related to health, the company said.

With so many people looking to Google for answers to health questions, the company said Tuesday that it would start presenting medical information in its Knowledge Graph, a sidebar of text and images that shows typical symptoms and treatments for conditions, and details on how common certain conditions are.

Previously, Google presented users with only website links when they searched for medical terms. Knowledge Graph collates information relevant to the query and presents it at the top of the results page, which will save people time because they don’t have to sift through various websites for basic information.

The company worked with a team of doctors to compile, curate and review the information and, although the search results aren’t intended as medical advice, Google said it hoped to “empower” users in their health decisions.

The feature will be rolled out in the U.S. in English over the coming days.

“In the long run, not only do we plan to cover many more medical conditions, but we also want to extend this to other parts of the world,” Google product manager Prem Ramaswami said in a blog post.

Twitter: @traceylien

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