Google Maps shall soon display locations which will show where Covid-19 vaccination sites have been set, further boosting the awareness of the virus and how users can avoid it. The feature is said to be in the final stages of development and may start to roll out in the coming few weeks or so. Initially, the feature will roll out in four states: Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Google also announced on Monday that searches for “vaccines near me” have increased quite significantly since the new year started and they plan to introduce this feature to ensure that the search engine is able to “provide locally relevant answers.”
In addition, the results, which shall also be shown in the search results in designated information panels, will also have details on whether an appointment is required or not, if the vaccine is only available to certain groups and if there’s a drive-thru. Google also said that they are in the works of “authoritative sources” which will give the necessary information, including local governments and retail pharmacies. Information about vaccine sites will roll out to other states and countries at later stages.
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Now even though the vaccine is slowly getting more available for people, many Americans are still finding it hard to get a hold of it. Recent stats show that 60% of Americans say that they don’t know when or where to get the vaccine from. Vaccine availability in the United States has also been problematic with the new President elect, Joe Biden urging his people to show patience and that he ensures that the rollout will soon be improved by his team. The man, now in charge of the country has set aims of delivering 100 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days in office.
It’s the latest change to Google Maps in relation to the pandemic. In September, the Maps app began displaying seven-day averages of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. In addition, the CEO of Google and Alphabet, Sundar Pichai also mentioned on Monday that the company is donating $100 million in ad grants to CDC Foundation, the World Health Organization and other nonprofits to run “critical public service health announcements” about the virus. “We recognize that getting vaccines to people is a complex problem to solve, and we’re committed to doing our part,” he said.