More than a week ago, President Donald Trump at a press conference claimed that Google will be developing a screening website specific to the Coronavirus and would channel people to testing sites. Well, we did learn in time that it wasn’t true. However, Verily a sister concern venture of Google did launch such type of a site but it was launched only for the Bay Area, and apparently it was able to offer tests to a very tiny number of people in the area. Post which Google did assure that they would come up with a similar website, and after a short delay it is right here!
Along with the website, Google will begin to provide improved information on the cards for people looking out for terms related to the novel Coronavirus. The website will offer information tabs for information on symptoms, global stats, prevention, and locally relevant information.
URL of the website is google.com/covid19. Post the announcement of the website, Google states that one can have access to “state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses.” Furthermore, Google stresses on the fact that it is extracting information from “authoritative” resources namely the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
More on the website
The website is currently available in English, but a spokesperson from Google has mentioned that it will soon support Espanol (Spanish).
The website was been designed and engineered keeping accessibility at the apex, including larger fonts that are often used by Google.
The website also contains videos categorized in ASL (Age, Sex, and Location) along with a global map that displays confirmed cases by country. Additionally, the website shares ample information related to other relief efforts taken up by Google along with a few feel-good YouTube videos.
Reading through the description, it is also visible that the website does not contain what President Trump had claimed it would. The nearest information regarding the test that the website offers is a drop down that provides links to local websites. For example, if you select California, the website will provide a link to the California Department of Public Health.
Currently, the CDC has a “self-checker” chatbot build with the help of Microsoft. However, Wall Street Journal quoted that an executive from the healthcare provider is the one who adds in realistic context as, “It’s just something consumers need now to help with anxiety.”
A huge number of tech companies are putting their best leg forward to provide coronavirus-related support. Even then, none of them are able to resolve some of the biggest problems associated with the pandemic such as access to testing and the approaching crisis for the healthcare infrastructure.
It is expected that in the future Google will provide a questionnaire and information related to local drive-thru testing locations. But a spokesperson mentioned that this would not happen until they have authoritative and trustworthy information on those sites. Unfortunately, this might take a long time.