The internet’s good for many things, but it’s never been a great source for medical advice. It looks like Google’s testing out a new program that could change that. The new service, currently being tested with a limited number of users, connects people searching for health conditions with doctors over video chat. The feature was first revealed by a Reddit user who posted a screenshot of the service online, and Google representatives later confirmed its authenticity to Engadget.
Searching the web for symptoms of illness can be dangerous — you could identify a real condition, but you also risk scaring yourself for no reason through a misdiagnosis. Google might have a solution that puts your mind at ease, though. The company has confirmed to Engadget that it’s testing a Helpouts-style feature which offers video chats with doctors when you search for symptoms. While there aren’t many details of how this works in practice, the search card mentions that Google is covering the costs of any chats during the trial phase. You’ll likely have to pay for virtual appointments if and when the service is ever ready for prime time, then. That’s not ideal, but it could be much cheaper than seeing a physician in person.