Google India on Monday announced that it has started testing a new feature in Maps that will help its users to find hospital beds amid the pandemic. The company today announced that it is testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps that enables people to ask questions about and share local information on the availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations.
The company, however, cautioned that as this will be user-generated content, users may have to verify the accuracy and freshness of the information before trusting it and acting on it.
Apart from this, Google India said that it has also started sharing locations of over 23,000 vaccination centres on Google Search and Maps in English and eight Indian languages, which includes Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, and Bengali. This is in addition to showing 2,500 testing centers on the two platforms.
Additionally, Google India said that it was using its channels to help extend the reach of health information campaigns, which includes the ‘Get the Facts’ around vaccines campaign, to encourage people to focus on authoritative information and content for vaccines. The company is also highlighting important safety messages through promotions on the Google homepage, Doodles and reminders within its apps and services.
The company also said that since the beginning of the second wave in India, it has been running an internal donation campaign to raise funds for nonprofit organizations in the country, including GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation India, GOONJ, and United Way of Mumbai. This campaign, as per the company, has raised over $4.6 million ( ₹33 crores approx.) to date. To raise more funds, it has rolled out a COVID Aid campaign on Google Pay, featuring the mentioned non-profit organizations. This campaign will help people donate more funds in a bid to help others amid the pandemic.
Lastly, the company said that users, in addition to seeing panels that display the latest updates on vaccine safety, efficacy, and side-effects, plus registration information that directs users to the Co-WIN website, will also find information about prevention, self-care, and treatment under the Prevention and Treatment tab in easy-to-understand language. On YouTube, the company is highlighting authoritative information in a set of playlists, about vaccines, preventing the spread of Covid-19, and facts from experts on Covid-19 care.