Health care roils search engine rankings

For the online health care revolution to really get going we don't need prototypes, and we don't need search. We need better privacy laws, against Big Brother, Little Brother, and everyone else, a HIPAA for the 21st century.

Google Health Screen ShotHealth care is shaking up the search engine market.

Long-time laggard Ask.Com is suddenly a contender, at least in consumer satisfaction, and it's making a new effort in health care with what it calls Health Smart Answers.

Revolution Health and HealthLine are acting as the main information providers to Health Smart Answers.

At the same time Google and Microsoft are both making their own moves to target the sick and hypochondriac.

The Big Two are taking different approaches. Microsoft is trying to capitalize on its existing strength in hospital computing and medical records. Google wants people to enter and track their own medical information.

The last verb, track, makes this one step removed from what Healthline, Revolution Health and WebMD are up to. Rather than seeking your search and communications business, they want to be your health data storage house.

Key to making any of this work is trust. Will consumers trust Google, Microsoft or anyone else with their private medical information?

They won't, so long as the government insists it has the right to tap into any database, without a warrant, and use that information for whatever it wants.

For the online health care revolution to really get going we don't need prototypes, and we don't need search. We need better privacy laws, against Big Brother, Little Brother, and everyone else, a HIPAA for the 21st century.