Move over WebMD! Google has started a free trial of video chats with medical professionals. We're guessing that Ebola might come up?
On Friday, a redditor noticed that when he searched for “knee pain,” this pop-up appeared:
“Based on your search query, we think you are trying to understand a medical condition. Here you can find health care providers who you can visit with over video chat. All visit costs are covered by Google during this limited trial.”
A Google spokeswoman confirmed the trial offer.
“When you’re searching for basic health information—from 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.”
The service is currently free for those who see it.
The U.S. health care industry is valued at approximately $3 trillion and it looks like Google wants a piece of the pie. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center last year, 35 percent of U.S. adults have gone online to try to self-diagnose a medical condition.
People have been able to connect to medical professionals using Google video chat since last November with the launch of Google Helpouts , a service that connects Google users to professionals of various sorts for a fee. What's new is that the feature now appears via a Google Search for some people.