Microsoft has launched “Healthvault,” a private archive for personal medical data. Google, sans Bosworth, is trying to figure out how to connect people searching for health information with quality results. Both of these are very serious approaches to a serious issue.
I’m wondering if it’s Mahalo that has the right approach. Calacanis is focusing on the top 20,000 searches— which fills the front page of Mahalo with celebrity gossip, gadgets, music, television, movies, etc. Stuff that’s obviously popular. It’s a little like the People Magazine of search. “People” started as a single page in Time Magazine, it was like dessert. Time realized some people like dessert all the time.
Mahalo does some nice “How to” pages, for instance How to speak French, or How to play the Guitar. Mahalo is mostly for searching and finding the fun part of the internet, elective studies. But what about serious things like health? Well there’s more in the Mahalo health category than I would have thought. The Cancer category has decent set of pages. Currently you can search and find information a large number of healthcare topics, from autism to West Nile Virus. The topic of healthcare is particularly suited to Calacanis’s idea of search results shaped by a smart person. When an individual searches for health information, they’re not looking for a list of links. They’re looking for answers.
Note to Jason: let’s see some more “How to” pages in your healthcare category. The concept and format of your SERPs gives you an order of magnitude advantage over Google’s method of delivering information. The key here is the emotional charge of the search. Of course there’s a charge when people search for gossip about their favorite celebrity, but there’s also a very serious emotional charge when you search for information when you, or someone you love, has an illness and you need guidance.