It seems Google is trying to bring an end to all the fake “diagnoses” resulting from folks searching for their symptoms and arriving at the wrong conclusions — or at least alleviate the problem.
An image posted to Reddit shows a Google search for knee pain, and an option for the user to video chat with a doctor about their symptoms.
The company has now confirmed to several outlets that it’s a new feature Google is trying out. Aspokesperson told Gizmodo, “When you’re searching for basic health information … our goal is provide you with the most helpful information available. We’re trying this new feature to see if it’s useful to people.”
And according to Engadget, the video chat feature will be part of Google’s Helpouts platform.
Helpouts connects users with experts over live video — experts can charge a fee per Helpout, and some are free.
As seen in the image above, Google says it will be covering the costs during the trial, but it’s possible the feature will cost you in the future.
Of course, Google is not the only player in the space; there are telemedicine companies like Spruce and Better, and they mostly charge for their service.
Spruce is an app that connects its users with a board-certified dermatologist to provide acne treatment plans in 24 hours. Spruce costs $40 per “visit.”
And Better promises to be your personal health assistant — offering up a symptom checker, health record storage, and Mayo Clinic nurse line for as low as 20 bucks a month.
Whether Google plans to build out the service into something more akin to Better and Spruce remains to be seen. As the Google spokesperson mentioned, the company is looking at usage statistics during the trial.