Google is reportedly testing a new feature in the Maps application that enables people to ask about and share local information on the availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations amid massive coronavirus surge in India. The tech giant stated that this new feature is an effort to support the relief efforts amid the deadly second wave of the pandemic in the Indian Peninsula.
“We know that some of the most crucial information people are searching for is the availability of hospital beds and access to medical oxygen. To help them find answers more easily, we’re testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps that enables people to ask about and share local information on the availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations. As this will be user-generated content and not provided by authorized sources, it may be required to verify the accuracy and freshness of the information before utilizing it.”
India has been hit worse than any country in the second wave of covid-19, and the increasing cases have resulted in the shortage of beds in the country. Hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
The timelines of social media in the country are filled with SOS calls of people looking for oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, plasma donors, and ventilators. Google and its teams are focused on three priority areas – ensuring people can access the latest and most authoritative information; amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages; and providing financial backing for affected communities, health authorities, and other organizations.
The search queries for the vaccine are also improved, with the search results now showing key information around side effects, effectiveness, and registration details.
“we’re using our channels to help extend the reach of health information campaigns. That includes the ‘Get the Facts’ around vaccines campaign, to encourage people to focus on authoritative information and content for vaccines. We’re also surfacing important safety messages through promotions on the Google homepage, Doodles, and reminders within our apps and services.”
Google will also be showing the location of over 23,000 vaccination centers nationwide along with 2,500 testing centers on Search and Maps.
“And we’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to make more vaccination center information available to users throughout India…we’re using our channels to help extend the reach of health information campaigns”