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After containment zones, Google Maps will now show when and where to get COVID-19 vaccine

Google said it's working with authoritative sources including government agencies and retail pharmacies for the information.

twitter-logoYasmin Ahmed | January 26, 2021 | Updated 17:43 IST
(Picture: Google)

Highlights

  • Google is rolling out a feature on Google Maps and Search that will give users more information on vaccination sites near them.
  • The feature will be rolled out in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas first and Google will add the vaccine sites to more states and countries later.
  • Google also noted that it is working on making select Google facilities such as buildings, parking lots, and open spaces, available for vaccination sites.

Google, in October 2020, rolled out a feature that enables users to see containment zones on Google Maps, to make travelling convenient for users. Now, Google is rolling out a feature on Google Maps and Search that will give users more information on vaccination sites near them. As of now, the feature is being rolled out in the US and will roll out in the rest of the countries later. Google aims to make relevant information available through Google Search and Maps that will show COVID-19 vaccination locations. Google noted that searches for "vaccines near me" have increased 5 times since the beginning of the year.

"We recognize that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we're committed to doing our part. Today we're announcing that we're providing more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and equitable distribution and making it easier to find locally relevant information, including when and where to get the vaccine. We'll also be opening up Google spaces to serve as vaccination sites as needed," Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post noted.

The feature will be rolled out in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas first and Google will add the vaccine sites to more states and countries later. "We'll include details like whether an appointment or referral is required, if access is limited to specific groups, or if it has a drive-through," Pichai noted. Google said it's working with authoritative sources including government agencies and retail pharmacies for the information.

Google also noted that it is using its AI to help in the transport of the vaccines and facilitate pre-screening, scheduling, and follow up once the vaccines reach their destination. The newly elected US President Joe Biden noted that he is aiming to deliver 100 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days in office, CNN reported.

Google also noted that it is working on making select Google facilities such as buildings, parking lots and open spaces, available for vaccination sites. The sites will first come to California, New York and Washington and will be open to anyone eligible for the vaccine based on state and local guidelines.

Google launched the COVID-19 info layer in September which enables users to also access state-level COVID-19 statistics. When a user zooms out to view an entire state, this new layer overlays the number of new COVID-19 cases (a 7-day average) indicated per 100,000 users and the trend in the number of cases in that state. The feature covered all Indian states and was made available in several other regions globally.

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