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Google delays launch of dedicated coronavirus website
Update, March 17, 2020 (5:04AM ET): Google’s dedicated coronavirus website is now delayed. As mentioned in the original article below, the website was supposed to be up and running on March 16. However, Google has told The Verge that the website will now go live later this week.
The new website will also provide information about screening and testing for COVID-19. This is in addition to an existing site by Alphabet’s subsidiary Verily which runs a pilot program for directing people to coronavirus test centers. Details of that website can be found in the original article below.
Original article, March 16, 2020 (6:31 AM ET): Google announced on Sunday that it is undertaking multiple initiatives to help with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Mountain View-based tech giant will launch a new website later today, dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources.
Google is building the new coronavirus website in partnership with the US government. Its focus will be on containing the spread of the disease in America and it’ll include information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Additionally, Google will also provide helpful tips and tools for individuals, teachers and businesses on the website.
A Covid-19 testing program
Besides the dedicated website from Google, Alphabet subsidiary Verily has launched a screening website for Americans who want to get tested for COVID-19.
The screening website asks people to fill out an initial survey to determine if they need to be tested for the virus.
According to an official blog post by Verily, the tool is meant to triage people who are concerned about their COVID-19 risk into testing sites based on guidance from public health officials and test availability.
However, the pilot testing program is currently limited to people who are above 18 years of age and present in California’s Bay Area.
Activating resources on Search, Maps, and YouTube
Right now, the company is promoting its “Do The Five” campaign on the Google app’s homepage. Check out the tips below.
On YouTube, Google is using the homepage to direct users to videos from the CDC and other public health agencies.
Google Maps and Search will also become important tools for finding out which places are temporarily closed due to coronavirus. The company will use its human-like AI Duplex (where available) to contact businesses and confirm their updated operating status.
For travelers, Google has a special webpage that’ll display any new airline policies regarding cancellations, fees, and more.