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Google Health Feedback

05/12/06

A client in the medical device manufacturing industy recently asked us for feedback on one of Google's newly launched services, Google Health. Here's our response...

What is Google Health?
Google Health is one of the first categories in Google Co-op. Google Co-op is a new directory of web links that is created through user suggestions. While most of the Co-op work is focused on standard users of Google services, it seems that Google Health also relies on information submitted by authorities on health related topics.

How Can I Access Google Health?
Google Health can be found in the Co-op area of Google, or by accessing the following URL: http://www.google.com/coop/topic?cx=health_devel

How Does Google Health Work?
Google Health assists users by offering more refined information on health related topics. Google currently offers keyword driven search services to help cover the following areas of medical conditions:

  • Overview of Conditions
  • Symptoms
  • Tests & Diagnosis
  • Treatment Options
  • Causes & Risk Factors

The results (while appearing to be on a standard Google search result page) are actually much different than a normal search conducted through Google.com. These refined results are constructed based on the information Google already has on the web site, information recorded on you as a user, and finally the notes gathered from the contributors.

Who is Involved in Google Health?
Google relies on contributions from the following organizations:

  • National Library of Medicine
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Health On The Net Foundation
  • Harvard Medical School
  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of California, San Francisco
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • The information gathered by these organizations for web sites include descriptions, topic coverage and overall quality. In short, these organizations are editors reviewing sites for inclusion in the Google Health category.

    How Can Google Health Impact Your Web Sites?
    Using a standard Google Account you can access Google Co-op and begin labeling web sites. Since this is an open-ended and user based system, your suggestions will be mixed with others. Therefore, your company's representatives could work towards creating profiles and labels for the related web sites, and update that information periodically. Based on the feedback and interaction with other Google Co-op members -- the sites could become much more powerful in Google search results. Also, it is worth noting that users can also "subscribe" to the updates and changes made by various account holders. In this case, users subscribed to updates from your company would receive updates when new information was posted on the topics they have subscribed to.

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