Google’s Knowledge Graph Expands to Include Medical Content
Web users will soon be able to access a wealth of health information for over 400 different conditions at the click of a button using Google’s Knowledge Graph.
The Knowledge Graph provides instant results to searchers based on the semantics of their query, with the goal of providing an answer more quickly. It saves the user having to click on one of the websites that appear on the results page, and gives them an answer which is based on information derived for many different sources, including Wikipedia.
Google have recognised both that “one in 20 Google searches are for health-related information.”, and that it can be difficult for users to syphon through all of the results on the page in order to find the most comprehensive source of information on the ailment that they are searching for.
Included will be high quality medical graphics and pictures created by licensed medical illustrators, to ensure that the correct information is conveyed to users. All of the information provided has been compiled carefully to ensure that it is accurate and has been looked over by a team of medical doctors.
The Knowledge Graph displays results catered specifically for mobile devices in the way of an info card that allows users to easily swap between information about symptoms and treatments on their smaller mobile screen. Every fact presented is aid to have been reviewed by 11.1 doctors, on average; making the information presented extremely credible.
The information which is presented on the info cards is not comprehensive, and therefore users will have to continue their research in order to gather more in depth information. However the info cards accomplish the goal of giving searchers a quick over view of common symptoms, and treatment options.
Still Not Medical Advice
The information that is provided by the Knowledge Graph is not intended to be used as a method for self-diagnosis. Rather, the information should be used for education purposes only; web users should always contact a doctor in order to diagnose their ailment rather than try to treat themselves.
For those living in third-world countries, or for those with little access to medical treatment or medical information, the Knowledge Graph serves the purpose of giving them access to accurate medical information at the press of a button. There exists a lot of inaccurate, out-dated, and misleading information on the internet about medical conditions in general, and so it is of a great benefit to have a source of information that has been vetted by a long string of health professionals.
Google’s Information Monopoly Grows
Some have criticised Google’s Knowledge Graph, as although it provides users with instant access to accurate and useful information that is related to their search query, it also alienates third party web publishers. The fear is that with the existence of the Knowledge Graph, which appears at the top of the results page, users will not have the need to scroll down and select one of the many websites available.
Although this may be true in some circumstances, much of the information displayed in the Knowledge Graph regarding health conditions is not comprehensive, and thus for more information users will need to do further research. Google is not directly monetising the traffic which it generates from the medical Knowledge Graph, and thus the information is wholly impartial and there only to help educate users.
As long as Google’s curated answers to search queries about common problems are accurate and give people the information they need to order to better understand the condition, then the new addition to the Knowledge Graph is a positive development. However, only time will tell if Google’s Knowledge Graph will provide more useful and accurate information than can be found by simply searching through the sites that populate the top of the results page.