To build on its efforts to arm users with the information needed to keep their families safe during the pandemic, Google is now looking to list COVID-19 vaccination sites on Search and Maps. From its COVID data layer to listing health and safety precautions that businesses are taking against the spread of the virus, and even its most recent efforts to surface trustworthy information in Search and Youtube, Google seems to be on a warpath against COVID, which has more than outstayed its welcome.
Searching for ‘vaccines near me’ has become five times more common since the year began, so in light of this, Google will surface relevant locations in Search and Maps over the coming weeks to make it easier for users to get vaccinated. Initially rolling out in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the initiative will expand outward from there. Upon clicking on a business location that provides vaccinations, you will also be able to see whether or not a referral or appointment is needed, whether it has a drive-thru, and more so that you can be thoroughly equipped before trekking out of the house.
Google is also providing more than $150 million to promote vaccine education and equal distribution using AI to optimize logistics. It’s actually pretty crazy – they’re using their own Google Cloud technology to help healthcare organizations, retail pharmacies, logistics companies, and public sector institutions to speed up vaccine deliveries, optimize trucking operations by predicting success barriers like traffic jams, weather problems, and even temperature fluctuations while the vaccines are being transported – that’s some SciFi stuff!
All of this to say that Google is clearly very concerned about how the pandemic has affected the world and is doing a ton of good with its innovations. It’s oftentimes up to companies as large as they to step up to the plate and provide solutions where others can’t, and this past year is a clear example of how effective that can be.