Google launches information panel in search results to combat Coronavirus vaccine misinformation

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Search engine giant Google on Thursday announced that it is rolling out a new information panel in its search results in order to tackle misinformation regarding coronavirus vaccines. Google in a blog post said that the first country to get this feature will be the United Kingdom because it has already rolled out the ‘Pfizer’ vaccine for COVID-19 in the country. Other countries will get this new Google feature as soon as they will start to give approval for COVID-19 vaccines.

In view to counter misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, Google is focussing to spread accurate information about the vaccine by partnering with the health administrations.

“Beginning in the United Kingdom, we’re launching a new feature on Search so when people look up information for COVID-19 vaccines, we will surface a list of authorized vaccines in their location, as well as information panels on each individual vaccine. As other health authorities begin authorizing vaccines, we’ll introduce this new feature in more countries,” Karen DeSalvo, MD, M.P.H, Chief Health Officer, Google Health mentioned in a blog.

Google had already introduced similar information panels on its music platform, YouTube in the month of March. Google revealed in its blog that the information panels were viewed 400 million times. The panels can be viewed on the YouTube Homepage and even on some of the videos.

“Launched in March, our COVID-19 information panels on YouTube have been viewed 400 billion times, making them an important source of authoritative information. These panels are featured on the YouTube homepage, and on videos and in search results about the pandemic. Updates to the panels will connect people directly to vaccine information from global and local health authorities. Because YouTube creators are a trusted voice within their communities, we’re also supporting creators by connecting them with leading health experts to make helpful and engaging content for their audiences about COVID-19 and vaccines,” the blog read.

Google further said that when the COVID-19 pandemic was first came into notice, it had given $250 million in Ad Grants in order to help more than 100 government agencies around the world to run critical public service announcements regarding COVID-19. Also, it has collaborated with fact-checking groups to tackle misinformation on its platform.

The search giant also revealed that it had withdrawn more than 700000 videos which were misleading the people about COVID-19 and were spreading fake or incorrect information about the disease. “We also continue to remove harmful COVID-19 misinformation across other products like Ads, Google Maps, and the Play store,” Google said.

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