Google is making it easier to find COVID-19 vaccine information in Search; details

By: |
December 12, 2020 5:40 PM

The feature will soon roll out to other countries as their health authorities give approval to Covid-19 vaccines

Covid-19, Google new covid vaccination feature, YouTube in eliminating misinformation, New panel in Google search for covbid vaccine, Google initiative to handle misinformation, covid conspiraciesGoogle new feature is aimed at restricting misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine at scale. (Reuters Image)

Knowing about authorized Covid-19 vaccines is set to get easier, courtesy Google’s new Search feature. With this new feature, users will be able to find a list of all the regulatory board authorized vaccines in their location as well as information about each vaccine. With European Union giving nod to Pfizer and BioNTech for emergency use, the feature will be first launched in UK. The feature will soon roll out to other countries as their health authorities give approval to Covid-19 vaccines.

In the new feature users searching for Covid-19 vaccine will find authoritative information about the vaccine in a box above the engine search results with reference to the health authority of that the country as the source. The panel will also have two tabs, one that organises news related to the vaccine and another overview of the vaccine, citing government websites as its source.

This new feature that will appear at the top of Google.com is aimed at restricting misinformation about Covid-19 vaccine at scale.

Google’s video-sharing platform, YouTube allowed Covid-19 conspiracies and misinformation like linking the disease to 5G network etc in April calling them ‘medically unsubstantiated’ content. Covid-19 vaccine conspiracies like a vaccine can cause infertility, kill recipients and implant microchips etc were banned only in October. Even then its new moderation policies missed many anti-vaccine videos, studies have found.

Google, however, downplayed such spreading misinformation allegation claiming that on YouTube Covid-19 information panel only offers authoritative information that was viewed over 400 billion times.

YouTube creators are making millions of videos that provide misinformation about Covid, often just with their opinion. Google said it had taken down more than 700,000 videos that had misleading health information related to Covid-19. However, according to the tech giant, it was not completely on them to screen videos about their content and decide the penalty of the creator. However, they are trying to do their part by connecting creators with health experts to make accurate content and even contributed $250 in AdGrants and help government agencies run Public Service Announcements about Covid-19. In April, Google donated $6.5 million to support fact-checking of news related to the disease. In its new initiative, it has invested $.5 million crores to create the Covid-19 vaccine Media hub.

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