A screening platform or an online information source?

A screening platform or an online

Google’s screening platform recently launched, was thought of as tool to enable people to be tested online, according to US President, Donald Trump. After a slight delay, what came to light is that the platform was not what was originally anticipated. It is not a screening website but rather, an information source.

The president was referring to Google’s sister company, Verily, who launched a similar site around that time, but this wasn’t a screening site either, nor was it what people were hoping for. Firstly, it was not available for all US citizens, only for those living in the Bay area and was more of a pilot program than an actual public health website. Furthermore, very few people were able to access it.

Google however then launched a site that acted as a source of knowledge and would contain information tabs for symptom checking, prevention and safety tactics, locally relevant information, and global statistics. This is a much-needed common platform for Covid-19 information. Google emphasizes that they are getting their information from trusted sources such as CDC and World Health Organization and that preventing the spread of misinformation is among the company’s top priorities. The site was designed with clarity and accessibility in mind, making it easy to understand in terms of font, navigation and terminology. Currently, it is only available in English, but the integration of other languages is in progress.

The website wrongly dubbed Google screening platform contains videos catered to wide range in ASL (Age, Sex, Location), live map updates on cases worldwide, information on other relief efforts by Google, and some positive thought videos to try to keep people calm. It seems that that is all the website is for now- a support site- designed to keep people calm, informed, and relieve anxiety surrounding the outbreak.

Many tech companies are currently trying to make efforts to support communities during the pandemic. Google is considering the idea of local drive-through testing locations added to the Google screening platform map, but such an idea is sadly far off, says their spokesperson. Microsoft is teaming up with the CDC and launching a “self-checker” Chabot. However, the main problem still remains. Accessibility to testing, and the lack of sufficient healthcare and medical infrastructure.