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Google will now help you locate the nearest COVID-19 testing center

Ankita Chakravarti     April 20, 2020

In a bid to spread awareness about the coronavirus, Google will now tell its users about the nearest COVID testing centers. As per a report published in The Verge, if you search for stuff related to COVID-19 on Google, the site will display information about coronavirus testing centers near you. The feature has been implemented in the US and currently, it shows information for more than 2000 centers across 43 states in the US.

Google will only show information to users in 43 states because the company is sharing data of test centers approved by public health authorities. They might bring the feature soon to India and other countries.

Apart from this, Google has already joined hands with Apple for developing a contact tracing platform that would not help the users but also the health authorities in tracking the movement of a COVID-infected patient. For instance, when two people come in contact with each other their phones share a unique key through the API channel that Google and Apple is developing. So if one of them gets infected with COVID-19, he can let the app know, the app will then notify other users who have come in contact with that person. However, while doing so, the app will not reveal any information about the COVID-19 infect person. It will simply alert the users that they have come in contact with a COVID-19 infected person. India has an app called Aarogya Setu that helps in contact tracing.

Google through its Google Maps has also listed down the food shelters and night shelters across cities in India.

"We are working closely with the Central and state government authorities to indicate the locations of food and night shelters in many cities across India. We believe this can help daily wage laborers and migrant workers, whose livelihoods and regular access to food has been affected," Anal Ghosh, Senior Program Manager, Google was quoted by ET a saying.

Google had also launched a mobility data trends tool that would help in providing insights to local governments and health authorities about how much people are traveling during coronavirus lockdown. Google extracts anonymized information from Google Maps users to keep track of their movements. Users can check the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports website on Google, select their country and download a PDF that shows the increase and decrease of movement across many places such as the grocery stores, medicine shops, local parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential areas. This would show how much people are following social distancing and how it will help in flattening the coronavirus curve.

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