Google introduced a coronavirus update website in India and updated its search engine and YouTube to feature prominently authoritative information and local factual data about the pandemic from the nation’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the company said Monday.
Additionally, Google also shows on Google Maps and Search more than 1,500 food and night shelters in about three dozen cities across India to guide people in need, it said. Millions of migrant workers in India have recently begun to return to their hometowns as their jobs disappeared after New Delhi ordered a 21-day nationwide quarantine last month to combat infectious disease spread.
Users can also find such sites, for example in English and Hindi, by asking Google Assistant about “food shelters” On smartphones, KaiOS-powered mobile phones and through a Vodafone-Idea phone line, Assistant is available to users. (The organization said that they are working to promote additional Indian languages.)
The Silicon Valley tech giant, which holds India as one of its key overseas markets, said it has published COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports to help the country’s health officials make decisions. The reports capture how, in recent weeks, traffic and movement across public places such as parks, transit stations, and grocery stores has changed in the country.
Google has also launched Nearby Spot on Maps on Maps on Maps to help residents around the nation locate nearby stores that offer essential things like groceries.
YouTube and Search provide curated information including top news articles, links to information from MoHFW, as well as access to reliable material on symptoms, prevention, treatments and more, Google said. YouTube also launched a ‘Coronavirus News Shelf,’ a feature at the top of the homepage providing the latest news about the outbreak from authoritative media outlets.
In recent weeks, both Google’s Pay service and Walmart’s PhonePe and Paytm have launched simpler ways to donate to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s coronavirus-fighting campaign. Google said that, to date, people have used its payment service to donate $13 million north.