After much confusion and a brief delay, Google late on Friday launched its COVID-19 Information & Resources website. This dedicated experience is focused on providing education, prevention, and local resources.
Last Friday, President Donald Trump revealed that “Google” was developing a coronavirus screening website. It quickly emerged that Google sister company Verily was the one responsible for an effort that incorporates a symptoms questionnaire, directions to drive through testing sites, and returns results. However, it was not the “nationwide” initiative touted by US officials with only limited availability in the San Francisco Bay Area.
A day later, Google did announce it was developing a nationwide website, but only to provide COVID-19 resources. CEO Sundar Pichai provided more details on Sunday, with a launch at the time targeting Monday evening. Google at the start of this week delayed the launch, citing rapidly evolving local and national guidance.
The COVID-19 Information page starts with the same Knowledge Panel that you encounter when searching Google.com for COVID-19. The card has four tabs that provide an “Overview” of the situation, brief description about “Symptoms,” “Prevention” tips, and “Treatments.” The next part links to “Help & information” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US and the World Health Organization, while a dropdown lets you visit your state’s health department for more localized information.
The next section deals with “Safety & prevention tips,” and features the same PSA to “help stop the coronavirus” made with WHO. The first videos from the organization also appear here.
Under “Data & insights,” there is a Coronavirus map that shows confirmed cases around the world. A Statistics table breaks down by country with columns noting “Cases per 1M people,” “Recovered,” and “Deaths.”
“Resources to help” is populated by several YouTube efforts, including “Learn@home” for families and playlists about working remotely, meditation, exercising indoors, and cooking. Google also links to guides put together by various parts of the company that deal with remote learning for educators and businesses.
Rounding out the page are ways to “Support global relief efforts” and announcements from Google. The site is fast to load and responsively adapts to phone or desktop viewing. It’s launching first in the US, and will be available in more languages and countries over the coming days.
Google will update it with more resources as they become available, and it serves as an alternative to performing a new query every time you’re looking for info. Those that continue searching will see an updated Knowledge Panel in the coming days that includes several part of this site.
According to Google, COVID-19 is currently the “largest topic people are looking for globally,” surpassing weather and news queries. The new site is built by the Search team and an expansion of the SOS Alert launched in late January. This website joins other Google efforts:
- Google Maps adds COVID-19 warning message when searching for medical locations
- YouTube will reduce video quality in Europe during coronavirus pandemic
- Google, Facebook, Twitter, and more commit to battling coronavirus misinformation
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