Written byShubham Sharma
The feature, which is rolling out across India, has been developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) with the ultimate goal of making testing facilities more accessible to the general public.
Here's more about it.
Google says looking up simple coronavirus-related terms, like COVID-19, COVID-19 testing, or coronavirus testing, will show a new 'Testing' tab on the left side (top on mobile) of the results page.
Once you click on this option, a list of COVID-19 testing centers will appear, with the nearest one being on the top.
From there, you can find facility details and visit, if needed.
In the case of Google Assistant, you just have to say "Hey Google, COVID-19 test" or a related phrase.
Meanwhile, on Maps, you will have to search specifically with keywords like "coronavirus test" or "COVID-19 testing". Without that, you will not get the center list on the service.
While listing testing centers on Search, Maps makes visiting the facilities easier, it can also mean overloading the already-overwhelmed healthcare system with cases that are not eligible for testing.
This is why Google will be displaying additional guidance along with its listing, notifying the public to follow mandatory practices like calling national/state helplines and getting a doctor's prescription before heading out for testing.
At the time of writing, more than 700 testing facilities, located across 300 cities, have been listed on Search, Maps, and Assistant.
Google says it will update the category with more labs as the number of private/government testing locations increases in the country.
Notably, the capability can be accessed in English, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, and Gujarati.
This is Google's latest product-related effort to help people fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to this, the company announced a COVID-19 contact-tracing tool with Apple, launched the ability to locate food/night shelters via Search and Maps, and introduced new safety-focused navigation features.
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