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New Google Feature Could Help You Make a Doctor's Appointment

At its annual health event, Google touts a new Search feature for scheduling doctor visits. It also offers research updates, along with news about the Fitbit.

Google headquarters in Mountain View, California
Google headquarters sprawls across a large campus in Mountain View, California.
Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google says it's trying to make booking a doctor's appointment a little easier with a new Search feature that'll show appointment availability for select providers. It's one of the developments the tech company unveiled at its second annual health event, The Check Up. (You can watch it here.) 

Though the new feature is still in its early stages, Google plans to roll it out soon across the US, if only for select providers at first. The company is working with CVS' MinuteClinic and other scheduling providers, so when you go to book an appointment in the near future, you might be able to see open appointment times by way of a quick search. 

A look at the new search feature involving health care providers.

A look at the new search feature involving health care providers. 

Google

Google also announced next steps for the Fitbit wearable, including pending clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for its photoplethysmography algorithm, or PPG, which detects heart rate data directly through the wrist and may offer signs of an irregular heartbeat. Results of a Fitbit-initiated heart study led by a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital were promising and showed that the algorithm identified undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, or AFib, 98% of the time.

There's no timeline yet for when the PPG algorithm could get FDA clearance, which companies need to market their products as medical devices, or how the algorithm will roll out across the different Fitbit devices. 

Read more: Fitness Trackers Are Getting More Personal, Powerful in 2022 And Beyond

Google also announced new research into global AI initiatives. One piece is the tech giant's partnership with Northwestern Medicine to research its ultrasound technology, which the company says may simplify prenatal ultrasounds and broaden the scope for which providers can conduct them. 

And the company announced promising research results on how photos of eyes taken on smartphones can offer a window into cardiovascular health, including blood pressure and cholesterol. Google is expanding research on how photos of the eye can help in detecting other diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, which can cause blindness. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.