Google Search acts in a great way to alert people around the world during emergencies. Today, Google activated an SOS Alert for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to quickly provide key news and other resources.
On Google, if you search for coronavirus or any other search query related to that, a white card will appear in the search results noting the SOS Alert and ability to share directly. Earthquakes or fires often feature a bright red card. First up is a “Top Stories” carousel from major news publications, with relevant “Local Updates” from Twitter underneath.
Accounts include @WHO and the UN agency’s Director-General. Google is currently showing the same alerts globally, but will “localize if needed” over time.
Today we launched an SOS Alert w/ @WHO, to make resources about #coronavirus easily accessible. When people search for related info on @Google, they’ll find the alert atop results page w/ direct access to safety tips, info, resources & Twitter updates from WHO.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) January 30, 2020
Next is “Help and information” with links to World Health Organization articles about coronavirus advisory information, condition overview, and Q&A. The same note also writes about some safety tips that are needed to be caring to prevent from this coronavirus such as washing your hands frequently, and covering your nose when sneezing or coughing.
Twitter, for its part, announced yesterday that it will tweak its search results to combat coronavirus-based disinformation. This combined effort shows how quickly tech companies can move to fight disinformation when they are incentivized to do so.
Meanwhile, Google.org made a $250,000 direct grant to the Chinese Red Cross. A campaign for Googlers and the company’s philanthropic arm has raised over $800,000.
Internally, Google has moved to temporarily close five offices in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. There are travel restrictions on employees with recent visitors to the region asked to work from home for at least two weeks.
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