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Google adds new health features to its search engine

date of publication:
March 25 2022 6:47 GMT

Update date: March 25 2022 8:15 GMT

The American technology company Google has added many new features to its search engine, most of which focus on public health.

The company said its search engine now has the ability to allow users to find available appointments for doctors to plan their health checkups, without having to use a third-party solution.

This came during Google’s second annual event focused on health care, under the name “The Check Up”, which was held Thursday.

By partnering with healthcare providers and a number of scheduling solution providers, Google allows users to find appointment availability for local doctors and providers, and users will see appointment dates and times available for doctors in their area directly through the search results.

The company said that the availability of the appointment will appear as soon as you search for a specific practitioner or facility on the search engine, noting that as soon as a date related to the appointment appears, the user can press the “Book” button next to the available schedule, and then the user will move to the third-party booking site.

The company explained that it is initially working with some health care providers and scheduling solutions providers in the United States initially, noting that the service will be expanded at a later time globally. The feature is only rolling out to users who search in English at the moment.

In a related context, Google also announced the expansion of health information panels on its YouTube video platform, to include markets including Brazil, India and Japan, after it was limited only to the United States.

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Using phone microphones as a “stethoscope”

On the other hand, the company announced its early developments within the framework of artificial intelligence for health at the same event, one of which is “the use of microphones built into the smartphone to replace the stethoscope.”

The company cited its internal research on how it used built-in microphones to record the sounds of a participant’s heart when placed over the chest.

The company said the latest research is investigating whether a smartphone can detect heartbeats and heart murmurs. However, detection will be limited to some smartphone models as it requires specific hardware input.

“We are currently in the early stages of clinical study testing, but we hope our work will enable people to use the smartphone as an additional tool for accessible health assessment,” said Greg Corrado, head of artificial intelligence for health at Google.

On top of that, Google is also working with partner care providers to scan images from smartphone cameras to help detect diabetes.

Aside from using smartphone cameras to detect heartbeats, heart murmurs and signs of diabetes, Google said it is working on using artificial intelligence with smartphones to provide ultrasound scans.

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