Here’s how Google plans to amplify Covid-19 information

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 11, 2021

To test a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps to help users find hospital beds and medical oxygen in their locations.

Google on Monday detailed a range of updates across its platforms Search, Maps, YouTube, and Google Pay services to help manage the Covid-19 situation in India and surfacing crucial information related to the pandemic.

The tech giant will be testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps to help users find hospital beds and medical oxygen in their locations.

“We know that some of the most crucial information people are searching for is the availability of hospital beds and access to medical oxygen. To help them find answers more easily, we’re testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps that enables people to ask about and share local information on the availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations,” it said in a blog post.

“As this will be user-generated content and not provided by authorised sources, it may be required to verify the accuracy and freshness of the information before utilising it,” it added.

Apart from this, it detailed initiatives in three priority areas: “ensuring people can access the latest and most authoritative information; amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages; and providing financial backing for affected communities, health authorities and other organisations.”

Information on vaccination

Apart from this, the tech giant detailed ways its platforms are helping in surfacing crucial information around Covid-19, especially information related to vaccination.

“Searches on the Covid-19 vaccine displays key information around side effects, effectiveness, and registration details, while treatment-related queries surface guidance from ministry resources,” it explained.

When people ask questions about vaccines on Google Search, they are shown information panels that display the latest updates on vaccine safety, efficacy and side-effects, plus registration information that directs users to the Co-WIN website.

“You will also find information about prevention, self-care, and treatment under the Prevention and Treatment tab, in easy-to-understand language sourced from authorised medical sources and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” it said.

It is also surfacing authoritative information in a set of playlists about vaccines, preventing the spread of Covid-19, and facts from experts on Covid-19 care on YouTube.

It will also be sharing the locations of over 23,000 vaccination centres nationwide, in English and eight Indian languages, in addition to showing 2,500 testing centres on Search and Maps.

“We’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to make more vaccination centre information available to users throughout India,” it said.

Other updates for providing authoritative answers to queries includes the ‘Get the Facts’ around vaccines campaign and surfacing important safety messages through promotions on the Google homepage, Doodles and reminders within its apps and services.

Initiatives for non-profits

In order to help non-profits, it has also rolled out a Covid Aid campaign on Google Pay, featuring non-profit organizations like GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation, Goonj, Save the Children, Seeds, UNICEF India (National NGOs) and United Way.

“Since the second wave began, we’ve been running an internal donation campaign to raise funds for nonprofit organisations helping those most in need, including GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation India, GOONJ, and United Way of Mumbai. This campaign has raised over $4.6 million (INR 33 crore) to date and continues to generate much-needed support for relief efforts,” it said.

Published on May 10, 2021

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