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Tag: search

An update on our efforts to help Americans navigate COVID-19

by Ruth Porat on Oct.27, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges and emphasized how important it is for each of us to do our part to help find solutions. I’m sharing an update here on how Google is contributing to keep people safe and helping to get American businesses back up and running.

Contributing to economic recovery efforts

As I’ve written earlier, to help small businesses gain easier access to badly-needed capital, we founded the $170 million Grow with Google Small Business Fund alongside $10 million in Google.org grants, with an aim to help the most underserved small businesses, particularly those owned by women and minorities. In collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network, more than $53 million dollars of loans and Google.org grants have been allocated to community partners who are focused on serving rural, women, Black, Latino and Native borrowers, which helps American communities start to get back on their feet. Tires by Papi and Bailiwick Clothing Company are two such examples.


Of course, our greatest contribution continues to be developing products to help people stay informed, adapt and get through this pandemic. 

According to the Connected Commerce Council, nearly one in three small business owners report that without digital tools they would close all or parts of their business. To help small businesses, we rolled out many new, free product features earlier this year, so that they can inform their customers about things like takeout, delivery, no-contact delivery, or curbside pickup. Today, people can now find this information on Search and Maps for more than 2 million restaurants and retailers in the U.S.


Using Search and Maps, you can find information about businesses.

We’ve used Google’s Duplex technology to make calls to businesses and confirm things like temporary closures. This has enabled us to make 3 million updates to business information globally, which have been seen by people over 20 billion times in Search and Maps. 


To help people searching for jobs, we have stepped up to help in many ways. We added new relevant features in the U.S. like showing jobs that can be done remotely. Google Cloud has partnered with different states to help jobseekers: we assisted Rhode Island’s Virtual Career Center, a new platform that  connects thousands of jobseekers with jobs and employment services; worked with the State of Illinois to develop a 24/7 Virtual Intelligent Agent on the IDES website; developed a chatbot, in partnership with the New Jersey Office of Innovation to provide real-time answers to the 20 most popular unemployment questions. These are just some of the examples. 


We also transformed our free Grow with Google training to virtual formats and have already trained more than 1 million Americans on digital skills this year. The Google IT Support Professional Certificate—which takes beginner learners to entry-level jobs ready in under six months—has become the most popular certificate on Coursera during COVID-19.

Grow with Google digital skills training

Providing trusted information

Questions related to the pandemic are more searched than sports or music (and even elections) in every state. 

Top coronavirus related searches in the U.S. this month:

  1. Coronavirus symptoms

  2. Coronavirus update

  3. Coronavirus vaccine

Across the U.S. people are searching on Google to stay informed and adapt. In 47 states, the top coronavirus-related question during the last six months has been “How many cases of coronavirus in [my state].” Search interest for “online courses” reached an all-time high in April this year, as did searches for “unemployment,”compared to search trends over the last 15 years. 


During this time, we’ve also seen people seek out information to help them navigate their daily lives. For example, since the pandemic began, searches for “curbside pickup” have increased 13-fold compared to this time last year, while searches for “contact tracing” spiked 1,000 percent  in April and then reached an all-time high in May. 


In March, we launched Search Knowledge Panels so when people search for information related to COVID-19, they immediately see local guidance, information about symptoms, prevention and treatments. We’ve committed $250 million in Ad Grants to help government agencies provide critical information related to COVID-19. As of today we’ve served more than 100 million PSAs from local public health agencies, which have been seen by tens of millions of people across the U.S.


We also launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency funding for small and medium sized news organizations covering the pandemic. To date, we’ve distributed $9 million to U.S. newsrooms across all 50 states. 

Helping people make safe choices 

To help people make informed decisions about where to go, the COVID layer in Google Maps shows critical information about new cases in an area and how they’re trending. As of this month, our COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which are used by public health agencies and researchers around the globe, have been downloaded more than 16 million times. 

In May, we partnered with Apple to launch the Exposure Notifications System (ENS) and made it available to public health authorities around the world in their fight against COVID-19. Designed specifically and carefully to protect users’ privacy while helping public health authorities and governments manage countries’ re-opening, today 13 states and U.S. territories have built apps based on this ENS technology.

In a short time, COVID-19 has changed how people live their lives. We’ll continue to update our products and roll out initiatives to help people and American businesses find trusted information, adapt and manage economic uncertainty.  

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Mapping wildfires with the power of satellite data

by Yossi Matias on Aug.20, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Ten years ago, I was inside the Google office in Haifa, Israel when the devastating Carmel Mountain fire started blazing not far from us. The team started searching the web to learn more. And while we did find some details confirming what we already knew—a large fire was taking place outside of our door—we experienced a potentially life-impacting information gap. 

This kick-started our journey to build features in Google Search and other products that connect people with high-quality information during crises. A few hours after I took the photo below, we quickly launched a small feature in Search that made it easier for people to find the emergency hotline for the Carmel Mountain fire. Since then, we’ve continued to evolve and expand off this initial launch into the SOS alerts we launched in 2017.

Carmel Mountain Fire.jpg

Carmel Mountain Fire - Photo from Google Office in Haifa, Israel

Connecting people to critical information during active wildfires

Today we’re launching a new wildfire boundary map in Search and Maps SOS alerts in the U.S. to provide deeper insights for areas impacted by an ongoing wildfire. In moments like a growing wildfire, knowing exactly where a blaze is underway and how to avoid it is critical. Using satellite data to create a wildfire boundary map, people will now see the approximate size and location right on their phone or desktop. 

When people look for a specific fire like "Pine Gulch fire" or “Apple fire” in Search, they will be able to see a wildfire’s approximate boundary of the fire, name and location, as well as news articles and helpful resources from local emergency agencies in the SOS alert. 

On Google Maps, people will have access to the same details, including the fire boundary, and receive warnings if they’re approaching an active blaze. If someone is exploring an area near a wildfire on Google Maps, they’ll get an ambient alert that will point them to the latest information.


Related: Natural disaster safety tips: a Q&A with the Red Cross

How we map fires to help keep people safe 

With satellite data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) GOES constellation of satellites and Google Earth Engine’s data analysis capabilities, we’re now able to show the size of a wildfire in near real time, with data being refreshed roughly every hour. NOAA’s satellites include infrared and optical sensors optimized for detecting “hot spots” or large wildfires on the Earth’s surface. We run computations on this data in Earth Engine to identify the affected area.
GOES Apple Fire Time Lapse.gif

Image series showing smoke from the recent Apple Fire in California, captured by GOES-17 satellite.

From there, we create a digital polygon—the red boundary shown on the map in Search and Google Maps—that represents the approximate wildfire impact area. If multiple large fires are active in the same region, people may see several polygons. You can learn more about how we gather, analyze and visualize wildfire data from satellites on our Medium blog.

Wildfire Detection Animation.gif

Using data from NOAA's GOES satellites and Google Earth Engine, we create a digital polygon to represent the approximate wildfire impact area on Search and Google Maps.

Putting this information to work 

This year the National Interagency Fire Center has predicted above normal fire risks for several areas across the U.S. Already, firefighters have confronted large blazes across Northern and Southern California, as well as the Grizzly Creek Fire in Colorado, which led to evacuations and burned thousands of acres. In these situations, having high-quality information at your fingertips matters.

For example, in the recent Apple, Pine Gulch, and Grizzly fires, we quickly identified that the wildfires were rapidly expanding, and dry conditions exacerbated the fire, putting thousands of people at risk. We were able to launch our SOS alerts, with the latest boundary map, on Search and Google Maps.

Wildfire_Mobile.gif


Last year, we piloted this feature in Search for major California wildfires to confirm it was a useful tool for first responders, emergency management personnel and the community. We collaborated with organizations, like the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and Boulder’s Office of Emergency Management, to gather expert recommendations on wildfire preparedness and response. Their feedback throughout our 2019 pilot helped identify what information is most useful during emergency situations.

Google works with local agencies to build features that provide critical, accurate information during wildfires.

Google has been involved in crisis response for many years, starting with the Carmel Mountain Fire in Israel in 2010. Since then, we've initiated Public and SOS alerts for hundreds of thousands of crises around the world. From wildfire mapping, to earthquake detection and alerts to flood forecasting, we continue to find new ways for technology to be helpful at the most critical times.

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Update your Business Profile on Google Maps and Search

by Tom Pritchard on Aug.13, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

When it comes to your business’s online presence, putting your best foot forward matters. And with more than 15 million edits made to Business Profiles each month, we know how important it is to quickly make changes so your business information on Google is engaging and up to date—from adding a phone number to sharing COVID-19 safety requirements with customers.

Today, we’re making it easier to update your Business Profile directly from Google products you already use. Now you can create posts, reply to reviews, add photos and update business information right from Google Search and Maps.

To start, make sure you are signed in with the Google account used to verify your business. On Google Maps, simply tap your profile picture on the top right corner of the mobile app and select “Your Business Profile” to access these tools. On Google Search, you can look up your business by name or search for “my business” to update your profile. The “my business” functionality is currently available in English and will expand to other languages over the coming months.

In-line imagery - Service - Mobile + Desktop.jpg

Update your Business Profile and engage with customers directly from Search and Maps

We’re also rolling out more free tools on Google Maps and Search that will help you understand how your business is performing and how you can enhance your online presence. Business owners and managers will see a revamped performance page with new customer interaction insights. This page will provide refreshed metrics on a monthly basis, and will evolve over the coming months to share more helpful data to business owners. All of these features will be available on an upgraded merchant interface that will offer helpful recommendations about how you can improve your Google presence—whether it’s adding information to your Business Profile, responding to recent customer reviews, or using Google Ads to help your business stand out.

Business owners can also continue to use the Google My Business website and mobile app to update business information and connect with customers. If you’re a business owner who has not yet verified your listing, learn more about how to do that here.

As more business owners rely on digital tools to connect with customers and keep business operations running, we'll continue to update our offerings to be as helpful as possible. Creating more convenient ways to update your Business Profile and keep tabs on your online presence are just some of the ways we’re doing this.

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Now sending: Business Messages via Google Maps and Search

by Jake Mintz on Jun.26, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

People develop loyalty to the brands that make it easy to purchase products and services and connect with their customer support. Google has built digital tools to help brands do this, including the ability to message customers through Google Maps and Search, via Google My Business. Messaging has become such a valuable way to connect with customers that twice as many businesses are messaging via Google now, compared to last year.

Today we’re expanding Business Messages in Maps and Search to support all kinds of businesses, and giving them the ability to integrate Business Messages directly with their customer service platforms. Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices, and through Maps on iOS. To improve connections with customers, we’ve recently introduced new smart replies, visual product carousels, and unique welcome messages. There’s also a smooth transition from automated replies to a customer service agent, so that it's not disruptive when the customer messages a business.

Several organizations, including Woolworths, Walmart and MyGov were among the first to try the updated Business Messages experience to make customer care more effective and efficient, particularly during COVID-19. Woolworths, Australia's largest supermarket, allows customers to search for products and see availability and aisle information at their local store, plus get details about hours and COVID-19 related updates to make shopping easier. In just a few messages, Walmart lets customers quickly find up-to-date information about store hours, pick-up and delivery options, precautions and more. And MyGov, with partner Amplify.ai, is providing help and answering live questions from Indian citizens about hours, COVID-19 helplines, and ways to volunteer and donate, for more than 11,000 food and night shelters across India.

A number of brands are using Business Messages to sell products and answer customer questions along the way. Mattress Firm, with messaging partner Podium, is successfully selling mattresses directly through Business Messages by sharing videos and product information, even while stores were closed due to COVID-19. DISH, with partner [24]7.ai, has seen a reduction of more than 22 percent in average handle time using Business Messages features compared to other messaging channels.

As brands connect with their customers via Business Messages, we’re experimenting with more ways for them to highlight this communications tool on Search. Business Messages will also be available on mobile websites so that a business can add the ability for customers to quickly “Message” right from their site and offer the same smart automated replies, paired with live agent connection.

Business Messages is currently available in English, with expanded coverage to other languages launching soon. Brands and messaging partners can sign up to access the Business Messages API and developer documentation. We also have partners ready to help brands optimize their messaging flow with engaged customers. Businesses can also still manage messaging through Google My Business

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Google’s new tools help businesses during COVID-19

by Jen Fitzpatrick on May.27, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Running a business requires a whole lot of ingenuity and perseverance. It’s those same qualities that are helping local businesses adapt, and even thrive, in today’s new normal. To adjust, business owners are increasingly turning to digital tools. According to a newly released report by the Connected Commerce Council, nearly one in three small business owners said that without digital tools they would have had to close all or parts of their business.

We’ve rolled out new features to help businesses get the support they need, adapt their operations, and quickly update customers about their latest changes.

Let people know how they can help 

We’ve seen firsthand in Google Search and Maps the impact that COVID-19 has had on small businesses and how they connect with their customers. People across the world are looking for ways to continue supporting corner bookstores, local watering holes, beloved dance studios and other businesses that give their neighborhoods character—even if it’s from a distance. 

To help local businesses share how their communities can support them during COVID-19, we recently began allowing merchants in six countries to add support links for donations and gift cards to their Business Profiles on Google. Starting today, we’re rolling support links out to merchants in an additional 18 countries such as Italy, Spain and Japan. We’ve partnered with PayPal and GoFundMe for donations. For gift cards, merchants can link directly to the relevant page on their website or to their gift card offerings with one of our eligible partners, which includes Square, Toast, Clover and Vagaro.

People around the world are looking to help—with global search interest in "how to help small businesses" reaching an all-time high in March 2020, increasing more than 700 percent since February. To help connect them with nearby businesses in need, we’ve made it possible for people to look up their favorite local businesses by name to see if they’ve added donation or gift card links to their Business Profile. And in the coming weeks, people will also be able to use Search and Maps to find all of the nearby businesses that are asking for support. 

Support Links Search

People can now look up their favorite local businesses to see if they have donation or gift card links on their Business Profile

Transition to online services with ease 

Merchants who normally provided in-person services are now pivoting to connect with their customers virtually—from yoga studios offering online classes to salons hosting virtual hair styling classes. We’re making it easier for customers to discover online classes and book virtual appointments with these new features:

  • Get discovered:Merchants who are verified on Google My Business will soon be able to add attributes like “online classes,” “online appointments,” or “online estimates” to their Business Profiles to let people know how they’re operating. Today merchants can add one of these attributes using Google My Business, and in the coming weeks it’ll be visible on merchants’ Business Profiles in Search and Maps. 

  • Online service bookings directly on Google:We’re expanding Reserve with Google to help merchants offer easy appointment bookings for online services so customers can quickly find available times, book a slot, and add it to their Google Calendar—all directly from a merchant’s Business Profile. Millions of people have already booked in-person appointments with salons, restaurants and other businesses thanks to integrations from over 100 Reserve with Google partners. We’re now expanding this to include bookings for online services, starting with partners like Booksy, Regis, WellnessLiving, and Zooty. Merchants working with one of these partners can offer online bookings directly on Google and share details with customers about how to pay and join the meeting using their preferred video platform.

Online Class Booking

 Merchants can offer easy appointment bookings for online services. 

Keep everyone in the know with the latest business information

Sometimes it’s not as simple as “open” and “closed.” Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve added new tools to help merchants keep customers informed about how and when they’re operating. 

Across all business verticals, we launched the ability to mark their business as temporarily closed, as well as reopen when they’re ready to open their doors. We also added secondary hours and COVID-19 posts so merchants can communicate important information about their operations directly in Google Search and Maps. Since March, we’ve seen more than 1 million businesses share COVID-19 posts, with millions of clicks to merchants’ websites every week as consumers look for more information.

With many people unable to enjoy meals inside their favorite restaurants, demand for food delivery and takeout has skyrocketed. In response, we’ve added more third-party ordering providers, so people everywhere can order delivery and takeout from an additional 25,000 restaurants directly on Google. To give merchants even more control, we’ll soon be making it easier for food merchants to indicate their preferred online ordering partners on their Business Profiles. 

Today people are deciding where to grab food not only based on the menu, but also on how easy it is to pick up safely. We added attributes like “curbside pickup,” “no contact delivery,” and “dine-in” so that restaurants could easily share these important details on their Business Profiles in Search and Maps. Since March, more than 3 million restaurants have added or edited their dining attributes. Some restaurateurs are even ditching dining areas for good. To support all types of food merchants, virtual kitchens can now verify their businesses on Google My Business. 

We know that every day during this pandemic can be drastically different—and for small business owners, there can be a lot of uncertainty. While we can’t control what each day looks like, our goal is to continue helping businesses communicate the latest with consumers across the world. 

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Connecting people to virtual care options

by Julie on Apr.10, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many healthcare providers are reducing or stopping in-person visits for a variety of patient needs, from the treatment of chronic conditions to mental health services to evaluating cough and cold symptoms. Yet, people need a way to continue getting medical care from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen interest in virtual care and telehealth rise dramatically. Health consultations over the phone or by video conference not only help alleviate strain on doctors’ offices and emergency rooms but are also recommended as an important way to protect patients and staff against COVID-19. 

To help individuals and health care providers connect, we’re focused on providing individuals with access to high-quality and authoritative information and supporting them throughout their health journey. Over the coming week, we’re beginning to roll out two new features in Search and Maps that make it easier for people to connect to virtual healthcare options, whether it’s to a doctor’s office down the street, the hospital across town, or a national telehealth platform.

Local healthcare providers, now virtual

Healthcare providers like hospitals, doctors, and mental health professionals can now enter a virtual care offering in their Business Profile, so that people searching for their local provider, for instance, might see a “get online care” link on Search and Maps. Clicking this link will take people to that provider’s virtual care website where they can find more information, and in many cases, schedule a virtual healthcare visit with a provider. 

The pandemic has affected many healthcare providers’ operating hours and walk-in visit policies. To help communicate changes that might affect someone’s visit, we’re automatically surfacing a link directly to health providers’ COVID-19 information page on Search and Maps, and we've assembled best practices on how healthcare providers can update their websites and provide COVID-19 information on Google My Business.

New health information about Hillview Hospital

With health providers limiting in-person visits due to COVID-19, we’re making it easier for people to discover virtual care options.

Find virtual healthcare, anywhere, anytime

Beginning as a pilot in the U.S., we’ll also begin showing widely-available virtual care platforms directly on Search so people can more easily access virtual visits. For example, when people search for “immediate care”, we’ll be able to also present available virtual care options and related information such as the out-of-pocket price charged for a visit (for those without insurance) and an easy way for people to directly connect with the virtual care platform. The visit between the patient and provider will take place on the healthcare provider’s platform of choice.

On Search, you can see information about virtual healthcare platforms

People will be able to see widely-available virtual healthcare platforms directly on Search as well as the out-of-pocket cost for a visit.

For healthcare providers, helping you keep up with demand

In addition to helping healthcare providers with information about how to keep their online business information up-to-date, Google Cloud is supporting providers with technology infrastructure and solutions to assist with care delivery and operations. This includes helping doctors support patients remotely with HIPAA-compliant G Suite products (including using Google Meet for telehealth or virtual visits),deploying virtual agents to field questions related to COVID-19, and helping with capacity-planning and demand forecasting of key medical supplies to better manage their supply chains.

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the response to prevent its spread has changed the way individuals access and connect to health care. Across our products, we’ll continue to ensure that healthcare providers have the tools to connect with patients, and that anyone can access the information and care they need to stay healthy.

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Connecting people to virtual care options

by Julie on Apr.10, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA


To prevent the spread of COVID-19, many healthcare providers are reducing or stopping in-person visits for a variety of patient needs, from the treatment of chronic conditions to mental health services to evaluating cough and cold symptoms. Yet, people need a way to continue getting medical care from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen interest in virtual care and telehealth rise dramatically. Health consultations over the phone or by video conference not only help alleviate strain on doctors’ offices and emergency rooms but are also recommended as an important way to protect patients and staff against COVID-19. 

To help individuals and health care providers connect, we’re focused on providing individuals with access to high-quality and authoritative information and supporting them throughout their health journey. Over the coming week, we’re beginning to roll out two new features in Search and Maps that make it easier for people to connect to virtual healthcare options, whether it’s to a doctor’s office down the street, the hospital across town, or a national telehealth platform.

Local healthcare providers, now virtual

Healthcare providers like hospitals, doctors, and mental health professionals can now enter a virtual care offering in their Business Profile, so that people searching for their local provider, for instance, might see a “get online care” link on Search and Maps. Clicking this link will take people to that provider’s virtual care website where they can find more information, and in many cases, schedule a virtual healthcare visit with a provider. 

The pandemic has affected many healthcare providers’ operating hours and walk-in visit policies. To help communicate changes that might affect someone’s visit, we’re automatically surfacing a link directly to health providers’ COVID-19 information page on Search and Maps, and we've assembled best practices on how healthcare providers can update their websites and provide COVID-19 information on Google My Business.

New health information about Hillview Hospital

With health providers limiting in-person visits due to COVID-19, we’re making it easier for people to discover virtual care options.

Find virtual healthcare, anywhere, anytime

Beginning as a pilot in the U.S., we’ll also begin showing widely-available virtual care platforms directly on Search so people can more easily access virtual visits. For example, when people search for “immediate care”, we’ll be able to also present available virtual care options and related information such as the out-of-pocket price charged for a visit (for those without insurance) and an easy way for people to directly connect with the virtual care platform. The visit between the patient and provider will take place on the healthcare provider’s platform of choice.

On Search, you can see information about virtual healthcare platforms

People will be able to see widely-available virtual healthcare platforms directly on Search as well as the out-of-pocket cost for a visit.

For healthcare providers, helping you keep up with demand

In addition to helping healthcare providers with information about how to keep their online business information up-to-date, Google Cloud is supporting providers with technology infrastructure and solutions to assist with care delivery and operations. This includes helping doctors support patients remotely with HIPAA-compliant G Suite products (including using Google Meet for telehealth or virtual visits),deploying virtual agents to field questions related to COVID-19, and helping with capacity-planning and demand forecasting of key medical supplies to better manage their supply chains.

The global COVID-19 pandemic and the response to prevent its spread has changed the way individuals access and connect to health care. Across our products, we’ll continue to ensure that healthcare providers have the tools to connect with patients, and that anyone can access the information and care they need to stay healthy.

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Connecting people with COVID-19 information and resources

by Emily Moxley on Mar.21, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Since the beginning of the year, search interest in COVID-19 has continued to climb around the world. Right now the disease is the largest topic people are looking for globally, surpassing even some of the most common and consistent queries we see in Search.

Search Interest COVID

As this public health crisis has evolved into a pandemic, information needs are continuing to change, differing from region to region. When COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in late January, we launched an SOS Alert with resources and safety information from the WHO, along with the latest news. The alert has launched in 25 languages across dozens of countries, and people in more than 50 countries can access localized public health guidance from health authorities. 

Expanding our COVID-19 Search experience
Now, as we continue to see people’s information needs expanding, we’re introducing a more comprehensive experience for COVID-19 in Search, providing easy access to authoritative information from health authorities alongside new data and visualizations. This new format organizes the search results page to help people easily navigate information and resources, and it will also make it possible to add more information over time as it becomes available.

Search COVID GIF

In addition to links to helpful resources from national and local health authorities, people will also find a carousel of Twitter accounts from local civic organizations and health authorities to help connect them with the latest local guidance as it’s shared. We’ve also introduced a feature to surface some of the most common questions about the pandemic, with relevant snippets sourced from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

To help people track the latest information about the spread of the disease, we’re adding modules with statistics and a map showing COVID-19 prevalence in countries around the world. This new COVID-19 experience on Search will roll out in the coming days in English in the U.S., and we plan to add more information and expand to other languages and countries soon.

A website dedicated to help and resources
In addition to launching new features on Google Search that provide easy access to more authoritative information, we’ve worked with relevant agencies and authorities to roll out a website—available at google.com/covid19—focused on education, prevention and local resources. People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses. Launching today in the U.S., the site will be available in more languages and countries in the coming days and we’ll update the website as more resources become available. Along with our other products and initiatives, we hope these resources will help people find answers to the questions they’re asking and get the help they need.

Guidance around local health services
We’re also looking for more ways we can help people follow authoritative public health guidance and locate appropriate health services through our products. Right now in the U.S., people seeking out urgent care, hospitals and other medical services in Search or Maps will see an alert reminding them of the CDC’s recommendation that symptomatic individuals call ahead in order to avoid overwhelming health systems and increasing the risk of exposure.

Urgent Care COVID

As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we’ll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.

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Connecting people with COVID-19 information and resources

by Emily Moxley on Mar.21, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Since the beginning of the year, search interest in COVID-19 has continued to climb around the world. Right now the disease is the largest topic people are looking for globally, surpassing even some of the most common and consistent queries we see in Search.

Search Interest COVID

As this public health crisis has evolved into a pandemic, information needs are continuing to change, differing from region to region. When COVID-19 was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in late January, we launched an SOS Alert with resources and safety information from the WHO, along with the latest news. The alert has launched in 25 languages across dozens of countries, and people in more than 50 countries can access localized public health guidance from health authorities. 

Expanding our COVID-19 Search experience
Now, as we continue to see people’s information needs expanding, we’re introducing a more comprehensive experience for COVID-19 in Search, providing easy access to authoritative information from health authorities alongside new data and visualizations. This new format organizes the search results page to help people easily navigate information and resources, and it will also make it possible to add more information over time as it becomes available.

Search COVID GIF

In addition to links to helpful resources from national and local health authorities, people will also find a carousel of Twitter accounts from local civic organizations and health authorities to help connect them with the latest local guidance as it’s shared. We’ve also introduced a feature to surface some of the most common questions about the pandemic, with relevant snippets sourced from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

To help people track the latest information about the spread of the disease, we’re adding modules with statistics and a map showing COVID-19 prevalence in countries around the world. This new COVID-19 experience on Search will roll out in the coming days in English in the U.S., and we plan to add more information and expand to other languages and countries soon.

A website dedicated to help and resources
In addition to launching new features on Google Search that provide easy access to more authoritative information, we’ve worked with relevant agencies and authorities to roll out a website—available at google.com/covid19—focused on education, prevention and local resources. People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to COVID-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses. Launching today in the U.S., the site will be available in more languages and countries in the coming days and we’ll update the website as more resources become available. Along with our other products and initiatives, we hope these resources will help people find answers to the questions they’re asking and get the help they need.

Guidance around local health services
We’re also looking for more ways we can help people follow authoritative public health guidance and locate appropriate health services through our products. Right now in the U.S., people seeking out urgent care, hospitals and other medical services in Search or Maps will see an alert reminding them of the CDC’s recommendation that symptomatic individuals call ahead in order to avoid overwhelming health systems and increasing the risk of exposure.

Urgent Care COVID

As coronavirus becomes a challenge in more communities and as authorities around the world develop new guidance and tools to address the pandemic, we’ll continue to find more opportunities to connect people with key information to keep themselves, their families, and their communities safe.

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Updates in Maps and Search to help during times of crisis

by Hannah Stulberg on Jun.06, 2019, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

SOS alerts help you quickly access authoritative, real-time information during times of crisis. Today, we’re improving SOS alerts by adding visual information about natural disasters and a new navigation warning system on Google Maps so you can more reliably know where a disaster is and anticipate where it’s headed. Read on to learn about what’s changing, along with three ways to help you stay connected and informed during times of emergency.

Hurricane forecast cones, earthquake shakemaps and flood forecasts

With SOS alerts, you can already see important crisis information—a summary of what’s happening, relevant news stories, emergency phone numbers and websites, Twitter updates from local authorities, and tips to help you find your way to safety. Now, you’ll also be able to see detailed visualizations about hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods to give you a better understanding of the situation on the ground.

In the days leading up to a hurricane, you’ll see a crisis notification card on Google Maps that automatically appears if you’re near the impacted area. This card will direct you to a hurricane forecast cone, which shows the prediction of the storm’s trajectory along with information about what time it’s likely to hit certain areas, so you can use this information to plan how to react.

After an earthquake strikes, tapping on the crisis card will display the earthquake’s shakemap—a visualization that shows you its epicenter, its magnitude, along with color coding to indicate how intense the shaking was in surrounding areas. This information can help you quickly assess the reach of the earthquake and and identify areas likely to have experienced the highest impact.  And in India, where over 20 percent of global flood-related fatalities occur, you’ll now be able to see flood forecasts that show you where flooding is likely to occur in addition to the expected severity in different areas.





Crisis navigation warnings on Google Maps

Later this summer, you’ll see a prominent alert if we think your route may be affected by crisis activity— and when possible, we’ll do our best to route you away from the disrupted area.


nav warning

During a crisis, every minute matters. Here are three other ways you can use Google Maps to stay connected and quickly get the help and information you need:

  • Share your location:Letting loved ones know where you are is vital during fast-moving, chaotic situations. From the crisis card, you can share your live location with friends and family for as little as 15 minutes, or until you decide to stop sharing.

  • See and report road closures: Turn on the traffic layer to see all known and suspected road closures in an area. If you encounter a closure on your drive, you can report it to help others nearby. You can also confirm whether or not a road is still closed with a quick tap on Android.

  • Share crisis information directly with the ones you care about:Tap on theshare button from the crisis card to keep friends and family up to date about the situation. They’ll be directed to Google Maps where they’ll see all available crisis information- which could include a summary, visualizations, emergency contact information, and more.

Hurricane forecast cones and earthquake shakemaps will start rolling out in the coming weeks on Android, iOS, desktop, and mobile web. Flood forecasts visualizations will soon roll out starting in Patna, India, and then expand to the Ganges and Brahmaputra regions on Android, desktop, and mobile web.



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