Google sifting through one billion health questions each day

Google is promoting anti-education message, MPs warn after adverts suggest spelling is not important

Google wants to harness the billion health-related questions people ask it every day to provide better healthcare, despite criticism that the Search giant has played a role in spreading dangerous misinformation about measles vaccinations.

Google Health boss David Feinberg said that around 7 per cent of Google’s daily searches were health related, equivalent to 70,000 every minute.

“People are asking us about conditions, medication, symptoms and insurance questions,” he said during a technology conference in Austin, Texas. “In this case we are organising the world’s health information and making it accessible to everyone.”

The former chief executive of major American healthcare provider, Geisinger Health, said that Google was trying to correct its fake news problem and “teams” of doctors and nurses analysing search results following public uproar over the appearance of conspiracy theories relating vaccinations to health problems.

“If you Google ‘how am I going to kill myself’, the first thing that comes up is a suicide prevention note…If you Google ‘holocaust’ and ‘myth’ the information that comes up is authoritative advice. If you Google ‘vaccines and autism’ it comes up with the original study that says [the study] was flawed and not appropriate,” he insisted.

Some of the company’s most popular services, like YouTube or Maps, have more than one billion users per day. Mr Feinberg said Google hopes that the same will be true of its health products.

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