Google app to offer dedicated health info to Indian users

Indians can now get dedicated information on over 400 health conditions like malaria and dengue fever using Google’s app. Users will see the new “cards” when they search for conditions with the Google app on Android or Apple phones and tablets, as well as mobile and desktop browsers.

“We have worked with Apollo Hospitals and Columbia Asia Hospitals to review the content and the health information. We will enable our users to check typical symptoms and get details on how common the condition is, whether it is critical, contagious and other information,” Google Senior Product Manager Prem Ramaswami told reporters here today.

India is the third country after the US and Brazil to have health information in the Knowledge Graph. The content has been specifically designed for the Indian context, he said.

The cards are available in Hindi and English, and cover common local conditions, he added.

Ramaswami said around the world, health conditions are among the most important things that people ask Google.

“In fact, one in 20 searches are for health-related information. However, the search results are not intended as medical advice but for informational purposes only. We will ensure that we convey that people should always consult a medical professional if they have a health related concern,” he said.

During product development, Google has also consulted All India Institute of Medical Sciences and ASHAs (community health workers) to ensure the information on the cards is useful and accessible, he added.

“As connectivity can sometimes be a challenge, Google will automatically load a ‘lighter’ version of the cards when a slow connection is detected so people can get to the information they need, quickly,” he said.
Asked if the cards will also suggest a possible line of treatment to users, Ramaswami said Google is still evaluating that.
“In the US, we have that. But we haven’t added that in India and Brazil as we are still studying the market here. If we see that as a viable option, we will do that,” he added.