When people say they are searching on the Internet for information, they usually mean using Google Search, whether they’re aware of it or not. Google’s biggest and most universal Internet service has become the gateway to information but is sometimes also used to deceive people. That happens especially in times of crisis and confusion, which is why Google specifically formatted and curated COVID-19 search results in late January. Now it is stepping up that game not just with more data but with a whole website dedicated to official and verified information about the coronavirus.
This is not a magical online tool that will tell you whether you have COVID-19 or not. Such a thing doesn’t exist, no matter what any popular or unpopular person says. Even Google’s sister company, Verily, can only help sort out those that should be tested from those whose status could be deferred.
Google’s COVID-19 site is mostly just an informational dashboard of news, tips, and facts about the virus, sourced from verified and authoritative organizations like WHO and CDC. For those who like numbers and graphs, it also gives insights on data, both directly related to the coronavirus as well as things like Search queries on the Internet. Finally, there are also some tips on what you can do during your prolonged stay at home or how to help in global efforts even remotely.
One doesn’t need to go to the site to get information you’re interested in. Google has also significantly changed the way it presents results when searching for COVID-19 in the mobile app. More than just the previous SOS Alerts, people will now also see tabs for additional resources as well as a carousel of tweets from local civic and health organizations.
During a crisis like these, there will always be people spreading misinformation too easily, either willfully or unwittingly. People look to the Internet and tech giants, like Google, Apple, Twitter, and even Facebook, for information and it behooves these companies to use their power responsibly in curbing less credulous or reliable information as much as possible.