Google Maps to show locations of COVID-19 food and night shelters in India
Google on Monday said it will now show the locations of food shelters and night shelters on Google Maps in cities across India to help people find these essential services during the ongoing lockdown.
Google, in a statement, said it is working closely with state and central government authorities to surface the locations of these relief centres.
"To date, across 30 cities, people can now find these locations on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant," it added.
Users can search for 'Food shelters in' or 'Night shelters in' in any of these Google products.
The service will also be made available in Hindi soon, the statement said.
Google is working to bring this service to other Indian languages over the coming weeks, as well as adding additional shelters in more cities across the country, it added.
"As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are making a concerted effort to build solutions that help people during these times of need," Google India Senior Programme Manager Anal Ghosh said.
He added that highlighting the locations of food and night shelters on Google Maps is a step to make this information easily available to the users in need, and ensure they can avail the food and shelter services being provided by the government authorities.
"With the help of volunteers, NGOs, and traffic authorities, we hope to convey this important information to the affected people, many of whom may not have access to a smartphone or mobile device during this time," he said.
This week, Google also announced that it has committed $6.5 million to fact-checkers and nonprofits that are fighting misinformation campaigns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. The tech giant plans to extend its support to organisations across the world.
In India, Google will be supporting Data Leads (a data-driven storytelling platform) in partnership with fact-checking network BOOM Live (which is also supported by Facebook).
"This would be complemented by an effort to train journalists across India to spot health misinformation," Google India announced.
(Disclaimer: Additional background information has been added to this PTI copy for context)
(Edited by Megha Reddy)