Google officially unveiled its educational coronavirus website
One week ago, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence revealed that Google was building a nationwide coronavirus testing website in response to the health pandemic that, as of Saturday, has sickened more than 277,300 people around the world. The search giant debuted COVID‑19 Information & Resources on Saturday morning — only, it isn’t really focused on testing as originally expected.
In a press conference earlier this week, Trump and Pence told the American public that visitors to the website would be able to fill out a screening questionnaire. They would then be instructed to go a nearby drive-through testing site.
However, Google later tweeted that the screening concept was in the “very early stages” and would start to “roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”
Statement from Verily: "We are developing a tool to help triage individuals for Covid-19 testing. Verily is in the early stages of development, and planning to roll testing out in the Bay Area, with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) March 13, 2020
While the website doesn’t include the “testing screener” promised by the Coronavirus task force, including a questionnaire of symptoms and search engine for testing locations, it does offer a lot of important information surrounding the virus currently sweeping the globe.
“Since the beginning of the year, search interest in COVID-19 has continued to climb around the world. Right now the disease is the largest topic people are looking for globally, surpassing even some of the most common and consistent queries we see in Search,” Google explained in a press release.
Google further states that, in addition to links to helpful resources from national and local health authorities, people will also find “a carousel of Twitter accounts from local civic organizations and health authorities to help connect them with the latest local guidance as it’s shared.”
Google also introduced a feature that surfaces some of the most common questions about the pandemic, “with relevant snippets sourced from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).”
Overall, the helpful tool is “focused on education, prevention, and local resources. People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses,” Google said.
Google added that, in the next few days, the website will be available for other countries and in other languages.
The launch of Google’s coronavirus website was delayed after they revealed they were teaming up with the CDC on a screening tool. While it isn’t currently available on the site, it could be coming shortly.
“As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we’ll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe,” they said.
Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.