This week, Google introduced a Lens image search function called DermAssist that can identify skin conditions such as odd mole or rash. Users can get more information concerning a bump on the lip, a line on a nail, or hair loss from the scalp. The tool functions on all areas of the body.
“Just take a picture or upload a photo through Lens, and you’ll find visual matches to inform your search,” the blog post says. Importantly, Google makes it clear that the material provided is informational only and not a diagnosis. The blog advises users to consult medical professionals for accurate diagnosis.
According to Google spokesperson Craig Ewer, the feature is accessible to everyone in the US and supports all major languages. For years, Google has been investigating the application of AI picture identification to skin diseases.
A project that aimed to diagnose skin, hair, and nail issues using a combination of photographs and survey responses was showcased by Google during its I/O developer conference in 2021. At the time, Google claimed that the technology could distinguish between 288 different conditions and would, 84% of the time, present the proper condition in the top three possibilities.
According to Google’s DermAssist tool page, it is “currently undergoing further market testing through a limited release.” It also states that despite being CE-marked as a Class 1 Medical Device (a label for products in the European Economic Area), it has not undergone FDA review.