Google Maps will soon display places providing vaccines for Covid-19, further strengthening awareness of the virus, and how to prevent it.
In the coming weeks, the function will roll out, starting in four states: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Google reported that since the beginning of the year, searches for “vaccines near me” have increased fivefold and it is introducing this feature to ensure that it is “providing locally relevant answers.”
The results, which will also be included in the search results in the specified information panels, provide specifics as to whether an appointment is needed, whether the vaccine is available to certain groups only, and whether a drive-thru is possible. Google said it partners with “authoritative sources” including local governments and retail pharmacies, for the data. Information would later be circulated to other states and countries regarding vaccine locations.
In relation to the pandemic, this is the latest update to Google Maps. In September, the Maps app started showing new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people on a seven-day average.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, also said Monday that the company is contributing $100 million in ad grants to the CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization and other non-profits to make “critical public service health announcements” about the virus. “We recognize that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we’re committed to doing our part,” he said.
In California, New York and Washington, some areas of Google buildings, including parking lots and open spaces, will also be opened for vaccination efforts and administration. With Starbucks, Amazon and Walmart providing similar campaigns in recent weeks, it is the largest multinational conglomerate to help boost the vaccine roll-out.