- Google’s information website for the novel coronavirus went live over the weekend, featuring handy information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The site isn’t the resource Trump promised to be, but it’s precisely what many people may need right now, especially when it comes to combating fake news campaigns with accurate, succinct coronavirus information.
- The website doesn’t offer information about coronavirus testing locations, or a way for users to sign up for tests.
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Google announced a few days ago that it was building Trump’s coronavirus website it didn’t know it was building. Google’s announcement came a couple of days after the president declared COVID-19 a national emergency and revealed that Google was developing what sounded like a massive resource to assist the government during the coronavirus outbreak. “Google is helping to develop a website. It’s gonna be very quickly done — unlike websites of the past — to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location,” Trump said, adding that Google had “1,700 engineers” on it and that they’ve made significant progress. It turned out that Google had no coronavirus in development at the time of the press conference.
Since then, however, Google developed a COVID-19 website, which was launched over the weekend. It hardly looks as sophisticated as Trump may have lead you to believe, but it’s exactly the resource many people might need right now.
The coronavirus pandemic also brought over a huge epidemic of COVID-19 fake news, with misinformation often spreading faster than facts on social media. Google’s official COVID-19 information website — google.com/covid19/ — can fight all of that by providing accurate information about the disease.
According to Google, the site is the result of a collaboration between the company and relevant agencies and authorities:
People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses. Launching today in the U.S., the site will be available in more languages and countries in the coming days and we’ll update the website as more resources become available.
The website will give you an overview of COVID-19, including information about how it spread, symptoms, prevention, and treatments. Moreover, the site lists links to coronavirus resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), including information about testing.
Google also offers users the same safety and prevention tips that are advertised everywhere. That’s frequent hands washing, coughing into an elbow, avoiding the face, keeping a safe distance from others, and staying home for as long as possible.
A Data & Insights menu shows some of the most popular web searches about the novel coronavirus and quick access to a map showing in real-time all the confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.
A Resources to help tab, meanwhile, contains handy videos about various coronavirus quarantine-related topics, including working and exercising from home, and food tips.
Google is also raising money to support the COVID-19 response effort on the site, saying that it’ll match $2 for every $1 people donate.
While it may seem underwhelming, Google’s COVID-19 site should, at the very least, provide accurate information about the disease. The site isn’t Google’s only effort to improve access to information. The company has a COVID-19 tab inside Google News which collects the latest developments, and COVID-19 information is featured prominently inside Google Search when searching for “coronavirus” or “COVID-19”. A COVID-19 section is available inside YouTube as well, featuring the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. Finally, Google is showing COVID-19 warnings in Google Maps when users search for doctors and hospitals nearby, reminding them to call ahead of actually visiting a medical facility.
One thing Google’s COVID-19 website needs is clear information about coronavirus testing facilities, although that’s much easier said than done. Hopefully, that’s something planned for future updates.