ISLAMABAD: Amid lockdowns during the Covid-19 crisis, tech giant Google has launched various features and incentives to ease load on telecommunication providers and to support remote learning and access to correct information in Pakistan.
According to a Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) press release issued on Wednesday, Google introduced new features and resources for users in Pakistan to help them stay informed and connected, support small businesses and to contain the spread of misinformation on its platforms.
Last week the PTA had observed the internet usage in the country had increased by 15 per cent following varying lockdowns across Pakistan. The increase, it said, was observed due to a spike in online activities by educational institutions and businesses as well as a ‘work-from-home policy’ adopted by organisations and individuals.
Google searches related to coronavirus now show an “SOS Alert” banner, followed by news from mainstream outlets and information from recognised health organisations such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and National Institute of Health (NIH).
The coronavirus resource hub provides a comprehensive overview of the pandemic, information about its symptoms and measures, as well as current statistics and answers to common questions.
According to Google, since the beginning of the year, search interest in Covid-19 has continued to climb across the world. At present, the disease is the largest topic people are looking for globally, surpassing even some of the most common and consistent queries the platform witnesses on search.
In addition to launching new features on the search engine, the platform has rolled out a website—available at google.com/covid19 — focused on education, prevention and local resources. People can find state-based information, safety and prevention tips, search trends related to Covid-19, and further resources for individuals, educators and businesses.
Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai in a blog post announced $250 million worth ad grants to help the WHO and more than 100 government agencies globally to provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other measures to help local communities.