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Searching for suicide tips? Google suggests you call help line instead

April 6, 2010 |  6:10 pm

Google is an expert in helping you find a lot of things. Now it wants to help those contemplating suicide to get help rather than click on Wikipedia's exhaustive entry on Suicide Methods

When users type some suicide-related queries, Google guides them to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The search giant implemented the feature last week. It automatically displays a bright red, eye-catching telephone icon and the phone number for a suicide hotline atop search results for some queries that contain the word "suicide." 

"When somebody is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, they may benefit from calling a suicide prevention hotline," a Google spokesman wrote in an e-mail. "This was created to help users quickly obtain useful information during a difficult time."

This is a departure for Google, which prides itself on delivering the exact results users search for. Google added a similar widget for searches containing "poison control." Accompanied by the green, tongue-extended picture of Mr. Yuk (remember him?), those results pages display the American Assn. of Poison Control Centers phone number.

-- Mark Milian