As Google expands its influence in India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, it has now turned its attention to taking care of the people themselves. On Tuesday, the Internet giant announced that health info had been added to the Knowledge Graph in the southeast Asian nation, with hopes of improving access to information regarding healthcare across the country.
The feature was introduced in the United States last year, helping self-diagnosticians everywhere more quickly interpret their symptoms and seek help where necessary, but now, the feature is growing up and going global.
“Around the world, health conditions are among the most important things that people ask Google about. In fact, one in 20 searches are for health-related information,” Prem Ramaswami, a senior product manager of Google India, wrote in a blog post. “From today, you’ll be able to find health information more quickly and easily with the launch of health information in the Knowledge Graph in India.” This means that when Google users in India search common health conditions, they’ll be shown information cards containing typical symptoms, data on how common the condition is, and other information that may assist users in managing their health.
India is only the third country in the world to have access to health information via the Knowledge Graph, with Brazil taking the second spot. Designed with local issues in mind, the India-specific cards are available in both Hindi and English, and “cover common tropical conditions like malaria and dengue fever.” And to ensure that those living in areas with limited Internet access aren’t disadvantaged, Google has also made plans to load “lighter” versions of the card based on connectivity strength and speed.
“Health is a really important need for Indians and people globally,” Ramaswami told TechCrunch. “This is a very difficult space to navigate for consumers online, they have issues with trust and vocabulary. We wanted to create something simple and straightforward that gives this framework from which you can dive deeper to get more information.”
But ultimately, Google notes that these results, however helpful, “are not intended as medical advice.” Rather, the Knowledge Graph is “intended for informational purposes only,” making it simpler “to do more research on other sites around the Web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.”
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