Google Inc aims to apply Web search technology to a general set of health information problems and remains committed to the market despite slow initial progress. Engineers stumbled onto Google’s potential role in the field by noticing the number of searches users perform with its Web search services for hard-to-diagnose health problems, often simply by typing symptoms into a Web browser. There is a big user information need, which we should ultimately fill. Its biggest rival, Microsoft Corp, got the jump on Google in the medical field last month by introducing an electronic health record service called Microsoft HealthVault. Google is also looking to figure out how to create transportable personal health records that give users. A variety of high tech companies from International Business Machines Corp. to Oracle to Siemens have worked for years to transform the paper-based personal health records market. But they face hurdles ranging from privacy concerns to budget-cutting of medical programs. Google started out two years ago on a service called Google Co-op. This taps various expert organizations to categorize high-quality health and other information, to make it easier to search and find on the Web. The scale of health-related information is reportedly huge, with an estimated 2 billion X-rays alone created every year. The Silicon Valley company is also reportedly looking at creating a special layer of doctor and medical-related locations on its online Google Maps service. This could help people find local doctors, understand their specialties or related practitioners. Personal health records might be stored on a keychain-sized digital storage dongle and protected by passwords. This would allow a consumer to travel around the world and supply their medical records to local doctors in a secure fashion. They plan it as a multiyear process.