March 3, 2015. SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – ‘Google on Tuesday began tuning its mobile search application to better answer people s questions about common ailments from tennis elbow to the measles.
Google product manager Prem Ramaswami said that the Internet titan will apply Knowledge Graph technology to common medical queries, putting computing power to work figuring out the meanings behind words and relationships between topics.
“Starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front,” Ramaswami said in an online post.
“We ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is — whether it s critical, if it s contagious, what ages it affects, and more.”
Google worked with a team of doctors to compile information that represents real-life clinical knowledge and high-quality medical sources on the Internet regarding a host of common medical woes, according to Ramaswami.
One out of 20 searches at Google are for health-related information, he noted.
California-based Google cautioned that such search results were intended for informational purposes and not intended as medical advice.
“But, we hope this can empower you in your health decisions by helping you learn more about common conditions,” Ramaswami said.
“Once you get this basic info from Google, you should find it easier to do more research on other sites around the web, or know what questions to ask your doctor.”
In coming days, Knowledge Graph technology will be woven into the Google English language search application in the United States for smartphones and tablets.
Google said that it plans to expand the number of medical conditions handled by the feature and to extend it to other parts of the world‘.
There should be great concern about this. What is not clear is that Google promotes adwords advertising on websites that promote selected pharmaceutical products in selected countries. Google’s policy on pharmaceutical advertising is laid out at this web address :
It seems very instructive as to which countries allow advertising of certain pharmaceutical products. The concern is that Google searches for medical conditions will carry advertising by Big Pharma Corporations in countries which are Big Pharma Corporation friendly – mostly White Anglo Saxon Protestant (WASP) countries and their military allies. (The New World Order Coalition).
Taken from Google’s policy to pharmaceutical advertising:
Examples of what’s allowed in some circumstances
PRESCRIPTION DRUGS. For campaigns targeting Canada, New Zealand, or the United States, certain businesses such as online pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers may use prescription drug terms in ad text and landing pages. If your campaigns do not target Canada, New Zealand, or the United States, you may not use prescription drug terms in ad text or landing pages. In limited cases, and where permitted by local law, Google allows exceptions to this policy for public health and safety awareness campaigns from governmental or well-established non-profit health advocacy organizations
ONLINE PHARMACIES. Google restricts the promotion of online pharmacies. Google allows the promotion of online pharmacies in only these countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States. Google allows online pharmacy advertisers to bid on keywords containing prescription drug terms in only the following countries: Australia, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States.
PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURERS. Google allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to advertise in select countries only. Pharmaceutical manufacturers may promote prescription drugs in the following countries only: Canada, New Zealand, United States. Pharmaceutical manufacturers may promote over-the-counter medicines in the following countries only: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States.
BULK DRUG MANUFACTURERS, medical professional suppliers, and antibody/peptide/compound suppliers for commercial labs may advertise in the following countries only: Canada, United States.
UNAPPROVED or misleading pharmaceuticals and supplements. False or misleading health claims, including claims implying that a product is as effective as prescription drugs or controlled substances. Non-government approved products that are marketed in a way that implies that they’re safe or effective for use in preventing, curing, or treating a particular disease or ailment.
CLINICAL TRIAL RECRUITMENT. Google doesn’t allow the promotion of clinical trial recruitment except in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States.
In summary, many countries which fly their own flag but which operate under the Stars and Stripes (SAS), allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to advertise their products on websites accessed by their citizens. They do not allow ‘alternative’ advertising, which claims a product is as effective as a drug made by a Big Pharma Corporation, or which is non-government approved, i.e. does not significantly effect the sales of Big Pharma Corporation products. The SAS countries also allow clinical trial ‘experimentation’, which says something of how they regard their citizens.
It is small comfort to know that Knowledge Graph Technology will be tested firstly in web searches in America, before its dubious benefits are extended to all.
We can trust that Google’s ‘team of doctors’ are not in any way associated with Big Pharma Corporations, can we?, and advice will not always be: take the pills Big Pharma Corporations make.
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