- Google is setting up a website that will be a hub for COVID-19 updates and information.
- Verily is creating a website to evaluate triage patients in the San Francisco Bay area.
- Google Maps will soon show if a location is closed temporarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Amidst all the hysteria surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, many people have been turning to the Internet to find answers to their burning questions about COVID-19. A great amount of what you can find online related to the crisis is helpful and accurate, but things are happening so fast that searching for some answers and following news items can be downright confusing. Is it true that Google is presently burning the candle at both ends in an effort to turn out a COVID-19 website?
Some prominent news outlets have said, no.
According to the company’s tweets, however, the answer is yes. Well, Google might not be working at all hours, (or they may be), but the company is collaborating with others to start a website focused on the pandemic, in order to help Americans.
On March 14, Google tweeted that they are partnering with the US Government in developing a nationwide website that includes information about COVID-19 symptoms, risk and testing information. Furthermore, on March 13th, the company tweeted, "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.”
By looking at Google’s blog, it is clear that there seem to be two separate projects going on. One website is Verily’s website which is focusing on triage, and the other will be Google’s COVID-19 website which will offer readers more general information.
First, some background. Verily Life Sciences is a life science research organization. It was formerly a division of Google X, but now it is an independent subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., Google’s parent company.
According to CNN, Verily is launching a small-scale website sometime in the second half of March in order to triage California-based patients. In essence, the site will help to determine the urgency of each reported coronavirus case in the Bay area, based on the apparent severity of the patient's medical condition.
It is key to know that, for the moment, the site will ONLY be available for use to patients in the San Francisco Bay area, according to Vice President Mike Pence. The eventual goal is to expand the site to other areas of the country but the timeline for that is uncertain, and the site will only be dealing with the Bay area for now. The website is not ready for use across the nation as of yet.
Google's COVID-19 Website
What will Google’s COVID-19 site be about? This website site will encompass many aspects of the pandemic. According to Google’s blog, it will have tips from the WHO and CDC, tools for individuals, teachers and businesses, maps of COVID-19 affected areas, and links to national health authority sites, among other useful content.
Google Search and Maps will now also be displaying whether a school, business or other location is now temporarily closed. Google Flights will be a special page devoted to updates for flyers. So, yes, there will be Google-related COVID-19 websites rolling out very soon. Check out Google's website for more information, and stay tuned for more to come.