Google Health may need a lot more free consulting

Google Health may need a lot more free consulting

Well looks like Google Health is back up again today. Enter a common term such as depression, asthma, leukemia, or heart disease and Google will give you the chance to segment yourself into a narrower category for advertisers and maybe provide some useful information to you along the way. (I’ve been posting on this topic here and here.)

But try terms like cardiovascular disease, carcinoma, or leukopenia and you won’t get anything special. Apparently Google is counting on volunteers at Google Co-op to provide the lexicon. Here’s something I found on MarketWatch:

When I asked Google CEO Eric Schmidt what was the most exciting product launch in the last year, he said “Google Co-op.”

In his words: “It’s a powerful idea” because it gets people to help Google structure the data. Through a co-op, “user-generated data becomes part of the answer,” Schmidt said.
What’s more, Google doesn’t have to do anything. “Best part of a co-op is that it shows up without us asking.” The idea behind Google Co-op, Schmidt said, is that users contribute to create rich resources of information across various topics. It’s a lot like Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia created and edited by users, he said.

Some well-qualified volunteers are signing up. Dr. Enoch Choi, who writes the blog medmusings lets us know that he is one of them.

I’Â’m passionate in trying to apply new technologies to improve the health of my patients. That’Â’s why I work as a contractor for EPIC, Healthline and OQO. Most of my patients use google for search, and the more I can help make high quality content more discoverable, the better.

No wonder Schmidt is so pleased with the Google Co-op concept and promises that they will be established in more verticals. Docs who work as contractors (presumably paid!) for smaller, less well-capitalized work for Google for free.

Merriam-Webster defines co-op –or cooperative– as:

An enterprise or organization owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services [emphasis mine]

Unless Google is giving out shares of stock, Google Co-op doesn’t meet that definition.

May 11, 2006

2 thoughts on “Google Health may need a lot more free consulting”

  1. well, in the broadest sense, i own the knowledge i’m sharing. It’s one way to reach out and help in situations where i couldn’t before. Like using PHRs to allow patient communication ascynchronously with me. I never had a chance to help with health search before, now i can be right with my patients then.

  2. Compare Google’s testing of “refinement options” for search results on health care topics discussed by Garett Rogers of ZD net to Vivisimo’s clustering search engine or Both seem more robust than these peeks we’ve seen of Google’s refinement features so far. See:

    Googleulation: No Health Portal, but Two Tools for PR

    Warren Allan Johnson

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