DTNS 2426 – Google Browser MD

Logo by Mustafa Anabtawi thepolarcat.comPatrick Beja is with us today to talk about Google’s new health facts surfacing in search. Can Google claim to be unbiased while curating facts?


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Show Notes

Today’s guest:  Patrick Beja, DTNS contributor and host of the Pixels podcast, Le Rendez-vous Tech, The Phileas Club podcasts, all of which are available on Frenchspin.com


Today’s great title suggestion:

Google Browser, MD (winner)

Damn it Jim, I’m a Google not a Doctor!

Turn Your Head and Search

Google product manager Prem Ramaswami posted an announcement of Google’s new search feature that adds medical facts to the sidebar when you search for common medical conditions. The knowledge graph box, similar to ones you get with Wikipedia content, will have three tabs called About, Symptoms and Treatment. The facts come from top sites surfaced by algorithm and then reviewed by Google’s own team of doctors and fact-checked by doctors from the Mayo Clinic. Google hastens to add these are not to be considered medical advice.

Gigaom passes along the USA Today report that starting next week Jet Blue will be the first airline to accept Apple Pay in-flight for onboard purchases.  Flight attendants will use specially-equipped iPad Minis to accept payments. Tablets will also have a card reader for everyone else.

PC World reports on a new enterprise service from cloud storage firm Box that lets companies keep full control of encryption keys for their data. Box Enterprise Key Management (EKM) is in beta. The key infrastructure is provided by a dedicated AWS CloudHSM appliance leveraging Gemalto’s SafeNet Hardware Security Modules for key encryption and protection. Customers have full control of keys while Amazon maintains the hardware. Box EKM also created an audit log that customers can review. Toyota Motor Sales and World Bank Group are among the organizations testing the new capability.

GigaOm reports Facebook is bringing its Internet.org portal to six states in India through Reliance Communications.  The app includes free access to around 40 services and info sources.  Clicking past those zero-rated sources incurs charges.  The app is meant to provide some Internet-access to users with feature phones or who can’t afford data plans.

Flipboard the popular tablet-friendly mobile news app is now on the web. With a website. What? Check out flipboard.com to see how they’ve adapted their design for the mouse and keyboard set. Hint: you can’t swipe the screen to flip. AS CNET reports, it has high-res images that take up the width of the page, with captions and headlines that stay out of the way of the image content. It uses a parallax effect that makes transitioning to large images a smooth experience as you scroll down the page. The website also gives users a variety of layouts options.


Torrent Freak reports that swiss-based Rapidshare will shut down at the end of March. The file hosting service was referred to by the US government as a “notorious market”.  After efforts to work with copyright holders to stop illegal file sharing, users and revenue dropped.  Rapidshare recommends all customers “secure their data. After March 31st, 2015 all accounts will no longer be accessible and will be deleted automatically.”

Well that didn’t take long. This weekend the Internet exploded about Samsung’s privacy policy that said it would transmit to a third party “personal or other sensitive information” that a user said around one of its Smart TV’s. Samsung has now significantly changed the terms to clarify that it sends the voice commands you speak to Nuance Communications. So you can now trust speaking about your Health conditions you searched on Google while around your Samsung TV. Just don’t click the mic button the remote when you do.

Facebook announced a new Facebook Groups feature to make it easy for members to list their items for sale.  The feature— called “Sell”— allows members to add a description of an item, set a sale price and a pickup or delivery location.  Sellers will now also be able to mark items “available” or “sold’

ReCode reports FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai claims the US public is being misled about the FCC’s Proposed rules for Open Internet. Pai claims that forebearances will not shut down all possibility of taxes or rate regulation. He called for the public release of the document which is either 332 pages or 8 pages depending on whether you count the comments included with it. The FCC traditionally doesn’t make full text of rules public before a vote. The last exception was made for rules on media ownership.

News From You: 

spsheridan and starfuryzeta sent us this story from the Washington Post reporting The Obama administration is establishing a new agency to counter the threat from cyberattacks by fusing intelligence from various government agencies during a crisis. Recent cyber incidents against US targets has raised the issue for policymakers and industries. Critics have questioned the need for another agency when other agencies like the Department of Homeland Security, FBI, and NSA all have cyber-operations centers with the NSA and FBI able to integrate information from multiple sources. Melissa Hathaway former White House cybersecurity coordinator stated “We should not be creating more organizations and bureaucracy. We need to be forcing the existing organizations to become more effective — hold them accountable.” Assistant to the President for homeland security and counter terrorism will announce the creation of the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center today at a speech in the Wilson Center.

starfuryzeta sent us this story from Gizmodo reporting that security consultant Mark Burnett has published 10 million passwords along with their corresponding user names. Now these are not passwords that Mark has hacked and downloaded but a random sample of passwords from existing data from dumps from around the internet on sites like haveibeenpwned and pwnedlist and compiled them for distribution. Although passwords are often released alone to other researchers Mark feels that it prevents them from understanding how the username and password might go together. Mark explains he wanted “to provide a clean set of data to share with the world” for quite some time to provide both, together, as it gives “great insight into user behavior and is valuable for furthering password security.” However given the recent events surround hacking of major e-tailers and online shopping sites Mark wrote on his blog justifying his actions although he does fear potential  “legal harassment.”

Discussion Section Links: Google Health Knowledge




Pick of the Day: 


Wednesdsay’s guest:  Scott Johnson, of the place with the pants on the frogs.

One thought on “DTNS 2426 – Google Browser MD

  1. I’m a hospital pharmacist writing from “Gig City” Chattanooga, TN after listening to your discussion of the announcement of medical information results in the Knowledge Graph. Just quick thought on how I and probably many clinicians utilize Google (not Google Scholar, regular old Google) from day to day at work.

    Pretty much all of the best, current, evidence based literature and guidelines are available freely on the internet if you know where to look. For example, if I want the current guidelines for the best empiric antibiotic choice in a diabetic patient with a foot infection I can go to the Infectious Disease Society of America’s website, search through their list of topics until I find the topic I want, then view the guidelines. Alternately, with Google I can just search for “IDSA diabetic foot” and the first link is a PDF copy of the most current guidelines. It’s not so much Google helps me discover new information, it helps me find information I know exists more efficiently.

    If I need to do research into a new disease state for medication I’m unfamiliar with, there are databases and utilities that will provide faster and more accurate information than a Google search can, however they are far from free. The cost of a personal subscription to the two reference databases I use almost daily is $800/year. This makes makes them inaccessible for even most medical professionals unless they have a corporate license through their employer.

    Part of the reason for the cost is the staggering liability of offering medical advice, which Google is of course claiming not to offer with this service. The thing is, in the anecdote in Google’s blog post when Prem describes the problem of not being able to “quickly find the information I urgently needed” when he is worried his infant son may have a concussion after a fall is a little worrying and I’m surprised it made it past Google lawyers. My medical-legal brain asks the question “Prem, If you want a product to provide urgent information about an acute medical condition with the intent to act upon that information, are you not seeking medical advice? ”

    I love the show!


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