Google has now announced a few new search features to help in the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Among the more important new features are those to help users get tests or get tested. But the company is also rolling out helpful information about travel, related to the virus. And a new way to get and stay up to date on travel restrictions via reminders.
The company indicates that the new features are in response to increased searches related to the virus. In particular, for at-home COVID-19 tests on Google Search. Those searches saw an upward trend at a rate of around 170 percent in May.
The latter feature, now including travel restriction reminders via email directly from search isn’t necessarily new. Google rolled out the main feature last year. Now, in the US, users can set reminders for travel restrictions on a state-by-state basis, however. As opposed to only at a federal, country-wide scale.
What’s new in Google Search for COVID-19 searches?
Now, as noted by Google, Search already yields a plethora of helpful information about the virus results. Whether that’s previously rolled features to help users find vaccinations, including those for children, or the company’s focus on surfacing and promoting authoritative information. That’s information from the CDC and WHO, as opposed to the vast wealth of misinformation and disinformation that’s spread via social media.
The newest of the features takes that a step further. As noted above, the biggest change is going to impact those who look for COVID testing. Google will now not only supply users with information about their nearest testing sites. It will also provide details about how to get free home tests from the government. And that’s in addition to highlighting locations nearby where users can buy in-home tests.
Google says that the feature will roll out in the US this month, with future rollouts likely planned to follow shortly after.