Google in partnership with Apollo Hospitals on Tuesday introduced its medical condition cards service to Google Search which would help the user get basic information on diseases and ailments as common as cold and as rare as polio.
Medical condition cards or popularly known as Google medical knowledge cards, which was launched in February 2015 for the first time, will be available both in English and Hindi across Android, iOS and desktop platforms. Users will be able to access 400 plus cards now with Google planning to take the number up to 1,000 soon.
Google cards, believed to developed to be more friendly on mobile platforms, are essentially compressed pieces of information presented in a panel like manner in return to specific search queries. In Google’s opinion, the panel consists of the most relevant and useful pieces of information combined together with text, pictures and graphics. Google has been using cards for weather, cricket, movies and celebrities.
“One in 20 search queries in Google are currently health related and India ranks second in terms of mobile search queries, only second to US and hence the knowledge cards makes more sense in order to provide easy, reliable information to our consumers,” Anjali Joshi, vice president, Google Search, said hinting that the company was looking at including more Indic languages into cards and Voice Search.
Users can simply type in the name of a medical condition and Google would produce the card at the top of the search results if available. The card can be downloaded as a PDF and kept for future references or can be mailed. “The idea behind developing such a product was to help the user to get relevant and reliable information regarding medical conditions easily making their life easier,” Prem Ramaswami, product manager of Google Search, said.
The new search function can help the user track down symptoms for illnesses and if they think those symptoms sound familiar to their situation, users can download them to show their doctor. The company said that it had partnered with several doctors, Mayo Clinic and Apollo Hospitals to authenticate the information available in the cards.
“We partnered with Apollo to review the information before presenting it to our consumers so that it is factually correct, Ramaswami added. Currently, the cards will not direct users to any medical facility or practitioner. Ramaswami also said that the new cards will help bridge the gaps between local language and medical terminology, for example, typing Madras Eye on the search bar will throw up results for Conjunctivitis.
Also, Google has made the cards lighter for India as most people are on 2G or experience 2G-like speeds. “Having to wait for a medical search query could be one of the most frustrating things for a user,” Ramaswami explained.