Last December, Google announced its plans to display a list of authorized vaccines in search results, starting in the United Kingdom. The company is now taking a step forward to curb the spread of misinformation around the COVID-19 vaccine in India. The company has teamed up with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to show a science-based narrative around vaccination drive.
“We have been working closely with the Rapid Risk Response team at the MoHFW that is tracking misinformation using social media listening tools across region and languages, and countering it with science-based messaging on vaccines and pandemic response overall,” wrote Google in a blog post.
Google rolled out knowledge panels in Google Search with details on the two COVID-19 vaccines, effectiveness, safety, distribution, side effects, and more just after the first phase of vaccinations. It is available in English and eight Indian languages – Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and Hindi.
Google seems to have helped MoHFW optimize its website for mobile viewers. Google says it helped improve the website’s page load times and helped localize their vaccination resource pages into the aforesaid eight Indian languages. It will also show information panels on YouTube for COVID-related queries along with a banner on the home page.
The company is now working with the MoHFW and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to display accurate information about COVID-19 vaccination centers on Google Search, Maps, and Google Assistant. In its blog post, the company says it will roll this out in the coming weeks.
“To enable government officials as they make critical decisions during these vaccination rollouts, we also deliver regular Google Trends reports on COVID-19 vaccine queries that reflect interest around the vaccination from month to month across regions,” adds Google in the official blog post.