Google Develops New Health Tool to Better Understand Disease Trends
AP Photo/ Marcio Jose SanchezTech01:13 04.10.2017(updated 03:44 04.10.2017) Get short URL112001
If you’re like most people, you probably turn to your trusted friend Google to learn more about your health symptoms when you find out you’re sick.
Google’s News Lab, which was created by Google to help journalists and researchers better understand Google data, recently introduced “Searching for Health,” a tool used to determine the correlations between diseases and peoples’ Google searches.
According to the website, which is a collaboration between Google, Design Studio Alberto Cairo and Research and Design Firm Schema Design, “Google Trends data allows us to see what people are searching for at a very local level. This visualization tracks the top searches for common health issues in the US, from cancer to diabetes, and compares them with the actual location of occurrences for those same health conditions to understand how search data reflects life for millions of Americans.”
The data, which illustrates trends, shows geographic locations where Google searches for cancer, heart disease, stroke and depression are popular and compares them to the actual number of people with those diseases. The tool also reveals that, for example, Google searches for obesity have steadily increased over the last 10 years.
This tool comes after Google and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) introduced a test for mental health in September. If you search for “depression” or “clinical depression” in Google via a mobile device, you will be invited to answer a screening questionnaire to determine whether you are potentially struggling with the mental disease.
In a blog post on Google, NAMI CEO Mary Giliberti explained that she wants to use Google to increase mental health awareness.
“Clinical depression is a very common condition, in fact, approximately one in five Americans experience an episode in their lifetime,” Giliberti writes, adding that, “despite its prevalence, only about 50 percent of people who suffer from depression actually receive treatment.”