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Google plans expanded medicine search

Will start showing side effects and related drugs as part of 'knowledge graph'

Google drug infoMedicines will soon join roller coasters and planets on Google's ambitious 'knowledge graph' project to map real-world information and build a more intelligent search function.

The addition of medications to the project means that Google searches will start to show 'key facts', such as side effects, related medications and links to further resources. This information will be available “right on the search results page” and stands to make 'Dr Google' a lot more powerful.

In a blog post announcing the new feature, Google used the example of the painkiller naproxen, providing a screenshot that showed a brief description, the drug class it belongs to, other drugs in that class, naproxen brand names, some of its possible uses and what people who searched for naproxen also searched for.

Similarly, Google did not give an exhaustive list of whose data it would use, though it did say that the US regulator the FDA, the US National Library of Medicine and the US government's Department of Veterans Affairs would all be involved.

But while Google wants to “make it quick and easy” for users to learn about medications, it still cautioned that “these results do not act as medical advice”.

The change was announced late last week and has yet to reach all US users of Google, so it's likely to be some time before it goes live in Europe – that was certainly the case with its related medical conditions search feature, which was announced in February and is only now live.

As an example, when you search, in the UK at least, for 'abdominal pain in my right side', you're presented with searches related to that symptom, including appendicitis, kidney stones and irritable bowel.

4th December 2012

From: Marketing

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