Occasionally Google comes up with an idea which is just plain great…and they should get credit for doing that. According to Google about 5% of searches are in some way health related. What they have just announced is that they will be expanding their Knowledge Graph to include health topics and disease conditions. In case you aren’t a sad search geek like myself the Knowledge Graph is the big box on the right which opens up in the results for a wide range of common searches like dictionary definitions, famous people, places and many popular topics. The search results for health queries is a heavily fought over area. The major drug companies spend enormous amounts of effort in terms of content creation (and paid ads) to secure top placement. Obviously they have a dog in the hunt and perhaps on many occasions the last person you would want to consult about your health is big Pharma. That’s where this idea hits home. At the moment if you search Google for a medical term you will get back something from some form of online reference like the National Library of Medicine but it’s typically pretty thin.
Google says they will be working with an independent group of doctors from the Mayo Clinic to curate accurate and sensible information about a wide range of health topics and conditions, going further than the thin outline they currently present. Even if the top of the search results is packed with content schilling for the drug barons the Knowledge Graph to the right will give you a sane and trustworthy block of detailed independent information as opposed to marketing hyperbole. It’s a great idea.