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Health bloggers: ‘Instant’ gratification not so great

Submitted by on September 15, 2010 – 2:50 pm6 Comments

Google instant - Migraine TriggersGoogle Instant is a wonderful development for people who can’t spell, particularly if you’re searching for a drug with a long or strange name, according to HealthCentral and Wellsphere bloggers. Other than that, our expert patients didn’t see much difference in health search results.

We contacted our bloggers and expert patients recently to get their response to the search engine’s new “refine-as-you-type” approach. In general, they were unimpressed by the change.
One said, “I find it to be a little different than regular Google – just eliminating clicking the button to search is kind of lame.”

One of our writers said that in most cases, Google Instant brought up the key words and long tails she was seeking.
PJ Hamel of said that sometimes it doesn’t give a general enough results.

“I just want to see ‘breast cancer,’ and type in ‘bre’ – and only choices are ‘breast cancer neuropathy’ and ‘breast cancer prognosis,’” she said. “I have to go all the way to ‘breas’ to get just plain breast cancer.”

Here is a sampling of the response to Google Instant.

Thumbs up

Autofills quickly so you don’t need to know how to spell all those medications and unfamiliar medical terms.

Thumbs down

Is irritating — like someone who interrupts you to finish your sentence.

Suggestions for Google
We also asked our experts for other search improvement ideas for Google. Here is what they said.

Maybe have a option where you can search directly for health information.
I would love a way to know what sites in your list are trusted or reliable, like Charity Navigator who rates charities.
Re-think how items for sale get classified. Right now you get any book that says ‘ache in jaw’ even poetry and lime green soap rather than books about dental, sinus or other headaches.

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