The World Health Organization or WHO just declared a global health emergency on account of the novel coronavirus situation gripping the world. That will unsurprisingly trigger a flood of dread and panic and, of course, Google searches. Knowing too well that it is in the position to make a lasting first impression, the tech giant switched on an SOS Alert for such searches to surface information from the WHO and other authoritative sources over potentially misleading ones.
The likes of Google and Facebook usually trigger some red alert systems in light of calamities both natural and man-made. In Facebook’s case, it uses its social network to let users inform friends and family that they are safe. Google’s SOS Alert, on the other hand, would prioritize information coming from verified sources, especially to push down more dubious links.
Google has announced over on Twitter that anyone searching for information on or related to the novel coronavirus will be shown resources coming from WHO. These include the status of the virus outbreak as well as advice on how people can keep themselves safe from it.
This information won’t be at the very top of search results, a place that Google always reserves for the top news from verified sources. That at least carries more weight than some forum or blog post, or at least that’s the hope. Google also promises that more localized information will be surfaced as the algorithm picks up those news pieces.
Google has also issued a direct grant to the Chinese Red Cross in the amount of $250,000. It is also calling on its own employees to help raise funds through its internal campaign that it boasts has so far gathered more than $800,000 in total.