Google Knowledge Graph Injects Medical Symptoms Into Search

Google has expanded its Knowledge Graph to help users get more relevant diagnostic information when performing health related searches.

In the next few days, the Knowledge Graph will turn up medical facts alongside health search results, such as symptoms, treatments, the prevalence of the condition, and even detailed illustrations from licensed medical illustrators.

This isn’t the first time Google has worked to make health searches more relevant. But previously, the diagnoses were simply generated by Google’s search algorithm, which lead to problems with misdiagnosis. The new health searches are guided by a team of doctors who worked with Google to review the search results, though the company warned in a blog post that the results are meant for “informational purposes” and that users should still seek out the advice of doctors.

While the new feature will probably be useful for searchers with the sniffles, the updates could also take up valuable space for brands in the health care industry, according to Benjamin Spiegel, managing director of strategy at Group M.

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“From a user perspective, the new health search is a great experience offering mobile friend, trustworthy results,” says Spiegel. “From a brand and media perspective, the new health search will become another category that causes a decline in traffic and increased difficulty to win in search. Generally new sections in the Knowledge Graph are placed on top of the results, leading to less traffic for the top ranking sites and less engagement with ads because users find what they need on the spot.”

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