March 20th, 2020
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.
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.
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 helping 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.
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.