Monday, May 08, 2006

Give Google Health a test drive

We've been talking about it for over a month, and now you can now give Google Health a try before it is launched. Visit (one of Google's datacenters) and search for anything health related.

The results page gives users the option to narrow down or filter to produce desired results. For example, I searched for migraine and it let me choose from various options including: treatment, research papers, symptoms, news and alternative medicine. Clicking on "From medical establishment" gives even more options.


Basically, Google Health is what I expected — an enhanced way to search for health related material. Lots of people were hoping for a more feature-rich product (including myself) but that's not usually how Google operates. They like to see and hear what people want before they spend time developing what they think people want — this is how they get things done so quickly.

What do I think? I like the service as it reminds me of a great product called — a vertical search engine that was designed to help users find health related content.

Google Health delivers better results to users searching for medical information without them having to learn how a new service works. I do hope they eventually expand this service so it acts more like a health information portal.

I'm thinking it could turn into a service like Google Finance that links a bunch of Google services together. Groups to link users with similar conditions, Images to see visually how something might look, News to see if there are any recent medical breakthroughs, Maps to find local medical clinics, etc. Right now we just have integration with Search — but it's a good step in the right direction.