New Google Maps feature is designed for those who fear that they have been infected
We often wonder whether Google has a room where it keeps several developers locked inside. Inside is a whiteboard and those locked inside cannot leave until a new feature is developed for Google Maps. The latest addition to the app is related to the current coronavirus pandemic. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in the U.S. has recommended that anyone who feels that they are exhibiting symptoms of coronavirus call their doctor first before driving to the hospital. This might prevent users who aren't ill from coming down with the dread disease. And it also could help to take some pressure off an already taxed hospital system.
As spotted first by The Verge, an update to Google Maps will now show a reminder when someone is using the app to search for a doctor or hospital. A rectangular box near the bottom of the screen has a heading that is printed in red to catch the attention of a Maps user. It says COVID-19 alert. Then, in black type, the message says "Call your doctor before visiting if you may have COVID-19. Source: CDC."
Big Tech is trying to be a good corporate citizen by working to spread legitimate info while banning fake news
Google is also trying to pass along legitimate information to the public while blocking misinformation, speculation, and outright fraudulent reports from worried and scared people around the world. Go to the Google Search app and type in coronavirus and you'll see four tabs: Overview, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatments. Overview will show you the latest news about the virus from reputable media organizations. Symptoms provides a rundown of COVID-19 symptoms from the World Health Organization (WHO) and also lists some top stories. Prevention mentions several tips that are supposed to keep users from contracting coronavirus, and Treatments explains that there currently are none for COVID-19.
COVID-19 information from (L to R) Google Maps, Google Search and WhatsApp
WhatsApp also is looking to inform users with information from a reliable source. Text "Hi" to +41 79 893 1892 on the app and you'll receive some information about the coronavirus via text. Additionally, if you open your mobile browser and go to whatsapp.com/coronavirus, scroll down to the section with the heading "Choose reliable sources of information." There you will find a link to the World Health Organization (WHO). If you have WhatsApp installed on your phone, clicking on the WHO link will open a chat platform. This might help users get a better grip on what really is happening on the front line. Keep in mind that the chat does not connect the user with an actual MD so the platform cannot be used for diagnostic purposes.
The Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has nothing but praise for Facebook and its WhatsApp messaging app. The doctor says, "Digital technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity for vital health information to go viral and spread faster than the pandemic, helping us save lives and protect the vulnerable. We are proud to have partners like Facebook and WhatsApp, that are supporting us in reaching billions of people with important health information."
Facebook announced yesterday some other initiatives it is taking during this crisis. Number one on the list is to make sure that everyone has accurate information. That seems to be at the heart of everything that the company is doing when it comes to the coronavirus. Facebook is also removing posts with misinformation and harmful content including those that seek to exploit the crisis by touting fake cures or selling items in short supply for jacked-up prices. The social media company is supporting global health experts and relief efforts by making donations and giving reputable organizations free ads. And by promoting ways that people can connect via WhatsApp and making investments to small businesses, Facebook is
supporting local governments, communities and businesses.