To combat the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, many companies around the world are coming up with special measures. Google has been proactively making available useful information related to COVID-19 such as SOS Alert in Search, virtual healthcare option in Maps, displaying food and night shelter locations, and more. Today, Google in a blog post has said that it is promoting reliable, authoritative information and has shared an update on the action that it has taken in bringing this information to people.
Google is curbing fake information that is being spread related to COVID-19 and advice, latest updates released from international authorities and MoHFW are bring displayed across Maps, YouTube, Search, Google Pay, etc. When users search for Coronavirus related info on Google Search, a consolidated page with important information like MoHFW resource links, top news, safety tips, info, authoritative content, and more is displayed to users.
On YouTube, the company has launched a ‘Coronavirus News Shelf’ that pulls out top stories from reliable and authoritative media houses and displays them on the home page. In order to curb misinformation on YouTube, the company is taking down reported videos that violate YouTube’s guidelines.
Google has also launched ‘COVID-19 Spot’ on Google Pay which will let users donate to PM-CARES fund or to NGOs such as SEEDS, Give India, United Way and Charities Aid Foundation, alongside displaying pertinent information on the topic from MoHFW. Google Play now also includes something called ‘Nearby Spot’ that displays local stores providing essentials.
Furthermore to help the poor and migrant workers who are suffering from the lack of food and night shelter, Google in partnership with the Indian Government has started surfacing locations of food shelters & night shelters on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant across 30+ cities.
Apart from this, users can access the COVID-19 India website in English, Hindi, and Marathi on smartphones, and KaiOS based feature phone users can access via Google Assistant in English and Hindi. The COVID-19 website displays all of the updated information, live statistics related to coronavirus in a single place.
In related news, Apple and Google have announced a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design. Both the companies will be launching APIs and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing.