With one in 20 Google searches made on the topic of health, Google is now capitalizing on the demand by infusing curated medical information into its engine.
Google's Knowledge Graph, the database that enhances Search with semantics-based data, will undergo a procedure that will enable it to place health information at the top of search results.
A user googling knee pain, for example, will see curated medical information in the placard above the listing of search results from other sites, according to a blog post from Prem Ramaswami, a Google product manager.
"We'll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is -- whether it's critical, if it's contagious, what ages it affects, and more," said Ramaswami."
Ramaswami said some results published in the Knowledge Graph will be accompanied by high-quality graphics created by "licensed medical illustrators."
"Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor," the product manager explained.
Google and the Mayo Clinic collaborated to fact check the information that was fed into the Knowledge Graph, from medical doctors and other authoritative sources from around the web.
Google's Dr. Kapil Parakh, M.D., MPH, Ph.D., led the team of medical experts that compiled and curated the information.
Ramaswami still cautions that the search results are meant to serve as medical advice.
"We know that cases can vary in severity from person to person, and that there are bound to be exceptions," said Ramaswami. "What we present is intended for informational purposes only -- and you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have a medical concern."
The Knowledge Graph has received its medical injection and the effects should start to manifest in the search engine in the next few days. Google isn't satisfied with the work and plans to expand the update in the future, going beyond the United States and serving up results in languages in addition to English.
The Knowledge Graph's medical training isn't Google's first attempt to bolster its search engine with credible health information. Back in October 2014, Google began testing a medical component of its Helpouts service.
Google began directing medical searches to the health and wellness section of its Helpouts service, a community for experts to offer advice to users via video chat. A "Talk with a doctor now" link began to appear in the Knowledge Graph on a limited basis.