With India reportedly becoming the fourth worst affected country in the world as the number of coronavirus cases have reached a total of 297,535, many experts agree that widespread testing is a key tool in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Google India has announced that it is working with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and MyGov to help people find local COVID-19 testing centres on Google Search, Assistant, and Maps.
A latest blog post by the tech giant revealed that Google users will now see a ‘Testing’ tab on the results page while making a COVID-related search (eg. “coronavirus testing”). This ‘Testing’ tab will provide a list of nearby testing labs along with key information and guidance needed before using their services. It also shows a pop-up for government-mandated requirements at each of the COVID-19 test centres, like:
- Calling the national or state helplines before heading out to get tested
- Carrying a doctor’s prescription (referral required)
- Testing restrictions (tests are limited to certain patients)
- Information about whether the lab is government- or private-run.
If a user is searching for keywords like “COVID-19 testing” or “coronavirus testing” on Google Maps, he/she will see a list of nearby testing labs, with a link to Google Search for the government-mandated requirements.
Stating that this experience is designed to help people find authorized testing centres near them, Jayant Baliga, Product Manager, Google Maps, said, “it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines that help determine testing eligibility before visiting. Tapping the ‘Learn more’ link leads to authoritative information from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India.”
Up until now, Google India integrated over 700 testing labs on Search, Assistant, and Maps spanning more than 300 cities. “We continue to work with ICMR as we surface more labs across the country. This experience is available in English and in eight Indian languages — Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, and Gujarati. We hope these new experiences play a part in helping people as well as healthcare workers as we collectively work toward overcoming this pandemic,” added Baliga.
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