You know how your doctor has explicitly told you to stop googling what ails you? Well, when you inevitably ignore that advice, the search results shan’t be as bad as they once were. Google has released a feature that will allow some users to video chat with a real doctor about their symptoms. The feature may be available when certain users search for common ailments like “back pain” or “stuffy nose” and is part of Google’s Helpouts platform.
A Google spokesperson told Gizmodo, “When you’re searching for basic health information — for conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is to provide you with the most helpful information available. We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.” So, the company is just testing this out now. It’s not available to everyone, but if it goes well, you might not ever have to leave the comfort of your super uncomfortable desk chair again. Though we can tell you right now (without a medical degree) that you really should get up out of that chair and move around. Just a thought.
During this test period, “checkups” will be free, but they may eventually cost money like a normal doctor or like other, more established telemedicine companies. Telemedicine is a potentially enormous industry that we’ve covered at length, including Spruce (dermatology app, which we wrote about here); Better (subscription-based personal health assistant); HealthTap and Opternative (eye exams from your computer). Even if it’s not free, this new wave of health services seems like a pretty good deal for virtual house calls, huh?
Did you ever think you’d be able to see a doctor from your computer screen? Let us know in the comments below.