After a week of speculation, Google announced Saturday morning the launch of an educational website about coronavirus in the United States. The site focuses on education, prevention, and local resources surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. The website is at www.google.com/covid19.
In a blog post, Google said it worked with relevant agencies and authorities to aggregate state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends, information to donate to relief efforts and other resources for individuals, educators and businesses.
The state of coronavirus in the U.S. has drastically changed in the past week. There are more than 19,300 cases in the U.S., and at least 250 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University — and more than one-fourth of Americans are being ordered to stay home as much as possible in an attempt to slow the virus' spread.
Google's site launched Saturday in the U.S., but the search giant said it plans to make it available in more languages and countries in coming days. It emphasized that the information on the site comes from "authoritative" sources, like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.
Videos currently featured on the homepage include "How to protect yourself against COVID-19" and "COVID-19: What Older Adults Need to Know" — which is also offered in American Sign Language.
Last week, President Trump announced the government's partnership with Google to build a screening website to direct people to testing sites. While Mr. Trump indicated the site would be a national resource, Google's sister site Verily launched a screening site for only a limited number of people in the Bay Area.
Looking at Google's new site, there is no evidence of the site that Mr. Trump initially proposed. It's unclear if the site will be updated with testing information in the future.
According to Google, COVID-19 is currently the most-searched topic around the world, surpassing some of the most common and consistent queries people search on a daily basis. Google also introduced new coronavirus data and visualizations in Search to make information more clearly available at the top of COVID-19-related queries.
These resources include information cards for symptoms, prevention and up-to-date statistics. Google said it will continue to update these resources as new information becomes available.
"As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we'll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe," Emily Moxley, Product Management Director of Search, said Saturday.
CONTINUING COVERAGE FOR MONTANA:
- Governor provides update on Montana's response to coronavirus
- Coronavirus: Frequently Asked Questions in Great Falls
- Civic leaders explain "state of emergency" in Great Falls
- Some grocery stores begin offering periodic "seniors only" shopping
- Why COVID-19 is causing more concern than the flu
- Free COVID-19 testing and unemployment benefits for Montanans
- Bullock directs two-week closure of public K-12 schools in Montana
- How the coronavirus closure will affect Great Falls Public Schools
- CDC: Cancel or postpone all events with more than 50 people for next 8 weeks