Science and Health

Google Trial Offers Video Chats With Doctors

Google is experimenting with offering doctor visits via video chat.

Google Trial Offers Video Chats With Doctors
Imgur / Jason Houle

Here's one way to get a doctor's opinion without ever having to leave your home. 

Google is testing out a new feature that allows you to video chat with a doctor. The option to chat with a doctor comes up when you search your symptoms. The service is HIPPA-compliant and can be used for a large variety of minor ailments. 

A Google spokesperson said, "When you're searching for basic health information — from conditions like insomnia or food poisoning — our goal is provide you with the most helpful information available."

This new feature goes right along with the company's new service Helpouts. Introduced in 2013, Helpouts provide video chatting services with experts who can help you with day to day needs. 

Here's the catch. You might have to pay for it. The Helpouts experts can choose to charge for their help and Google gets a cut of that cash. So, although the Google doctors are free right now, we'll probably have to pay to use it eventually. 

And Google has a little competition in the web doctors field. Teladoc and Doctor on Demand provide similar services. 

Teladoc charges vary patient to patient while Doctor on Demand charges a flat fee of $40 per session, so it will be interesting to find out how Google will handle its pricing. 

 VentureBeat predicts Google will end up the leader of the digital doctor industry because of its global popularity.