As we are all aware, this week, the COVID-19 virus was declared a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organisation).

Because of this, Google has acted fast – as they usually do – in the aim of keeping people informed and connected despite the pandemic.

Before I get into the latest Google updates, a quick personal side note: These are uncertain, anxiety-heavy and tiring times — please ensure that you are doing your best to look after yourself, your loved ones and the communities you are a part of; coming together in our tribes and working as one is the least we can do. 

So, how is Google dealing with the coronavirus? 

Let’s dive into it…

Removing misinformation regarding COVID-19

‘Fake news’ and misinformation is a hot topic online as of recent times, and it is Google’s latest challenge to tackle the misinformation online regarding the COVID-19 virus.

Google is removing coronavirus misinformation on YouTube (with thousands of videos that have already been axed), Google Maps, Google Play and search results.

They’re also continuing to remove misinformed harmful content such as false reviews and misleading details about healthcare through their automatic Google Maps systems.

A Website Dedicated to COVID-19 Information

Google has announced a recent partnership with the US government on a website project which entails displaying education and resources related to the COVID-19 virus, in their increased aims to tackle the misinformation and replace it with correct sources. According to Google spokespeople, this will be updated regularly.

Google Search and Map Premise Closure

Google has rolled out an update that allows the search and maps results to display if a local business, school, institution or organisation is temporarily closed.

They have also made clear that the AI technology ‘Duplex’ is being used to contact businesses for confirmation in current business hours and statuses so that they can be updated for relevance during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Google My Business Published Advice

In line with the above maps updates, Google My Business has published official advise regarding businesses and their Google My Business listings, stating that companies should keep them as up-to-date as possible.

As per the Google blog, suggestions by Google for businesses that may be impacted by coronavirus include:

 

  • Changing business hours: If these have changed, update the times when you are opening and closing. These hours will appear when the customer visits your business profile.

  • Manage information: Sharing whether or not business operations have been affected by COVID-19, such as delays or any additional precautions being taken.

  • Create a post: Provide up-to-date information on the latest company news.

  • Phone number update: Ensure your phone number is correct so customers can contact you.

 

We are also doing everything we can as an agency to support the businesses that we work with. If you are in need of digital support, you can get in touch with Embryo via our contact page or on 0161 327 2635.