As coronavirus continues to wreck havoc and send normal life out of gear into the fourth month since the deadly outbreak began, millions of people around the world are in a state of panic and confusion over what to do next.
Clueless public, most of who are quarantined, are desperately searching for doctors on Google Maps and dialling them up when they show even the slightest symptoms, and end up not just overwhelming the healthcare system but also risk infecting the doctors. So, in a bid to prevent them from potentially infecting clinics and healthcare professionals with the COVID-19 virus, Google Maps is now displaying a warning every time a user searches for medical locations.
Google Maps warns people to call ahead of visiting doctor's office
The warning message appears whenever a user searches anything medical related on Google Maps, and the brief message encourages users who are searching for any medical help to call up their doctor or the medical facility before visiting if they suspect they are infected with the disease.
The new warning, spotted by 9to5Google show a banner that reads: "COVID-19 alert. Call your doctor before visiting if you may have COVID-19. Source: CDC."
Precautionary step to protect against COVID-19
Upon clicking the warning message, users are redirected to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website (CDC) where they are greeted by the official CDC direction on the matter. The page tells people what to do if they are feeling sick, and one of the points the website lists is calling doctors before visiting an office is a precautionary step to "help the office protect themselves and other patients."
Google Maps is displaying this COVID-19 alert on all platforms, including Android, iOS, and on the web. On iOS devices such as the iPhone, the warning seems to appear on within the location listing. However, on Android devices, it appears in both location listings and search results, too.
The warning, apart from doctor's offices and health care centers, is also showing up for blood banks, and other medical related locations.
Many ways Google is trying to help public during the pandemic
Meanwhile, Google has been doing a lot of things to help the public during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Last week, the search engine giant promised to develop a nationwide COVID-19 website to help citizens seek information regarding the pandemic - an idea which US President Donald Trump appreciated deeply. The website has been launched since and seems to offer useful information about COVID-19 and can be accessed by visiting google.com/covid19.
Google has also been placing a COVID-19 news panel on the homepage of YouTube to provide users quick and authoritative information on coronavirus developments. The company has also been working on ensuring people see accurate information about COVID-19 when they search for coronavirus on its search. Since January, on searching "coronavirus" on Google the search result shows a curated page with resources from the WHO, CDC, and other leading health organisations, along with safety tips and news and updates.
The Mountain View California-based tech giant also joined hands with six other teach giants, including Facebook and Microsoft to commit to curb misinformation regarding coronavirus on their platforms. Just a few days ago, Google also encouraged business owners to access Google Maps and update their listings in case of any changes to their regular open hours or any information that will be crucial for customers during the outbreak times.