As someone rightly put, Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Well, tech companies have been quick to respond with various help tools to disseminate factually correct information to the public at large. For some unbeknownst reason, fake news somehow find their way into our chats and social media feeds. We all have been a victim of false stories. Hopefully, these new initiatives should help you out with the right details on the Covid-19 pandemic.
TLDR, here are the tools covered in this article:
- WhatsApp MyGov Corona Helpdesk (India Only)
- Microsoft Clara (the U.S. Only)
- Microsoft Bing Covid 19 Interactive Map
- Apple Siri Covid Advice (the U.S. only)
- Google Assistant Covid Tips
- Google Covid 19 website (U.S. Only)
- Facebook Information Center
Let’s have a cursory glance over what each one of ’em has to offer.
Covid 19 Help Tools
These are the ones you should definitely keep a tab on –
WhatsApp ChatBot (MyGov Corona Helpdesk)
WhatsApp has about 400 million monthly active users in India, making it the most popular and widely used app in the country. So, it was an obvious route for the Indian government to leverage that TAM (Total Addressable Market).
On Saturday, Narendra Modi, India’s Prime Minister, tweeted about the WhatsApp chatbot called MyGov Corona Helpdesk.
Sharing correct information, avoiding incorrect panic.
Here is an effort by WhatsApp and @mygovindia to ensure you receive accurate and verified information on Coronavirus.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 21, 2020
All you have to do is to text +919013151515 (or tap on this link) to connect to the bot. The bot will answer your coronavirus queries such as the symptoms of the viral disease and way(s) to seek help.
Microsoft CDC Clara ChatBot
This one has been made by Microsoft Azure in partnership with the CDC
Foundation and is christened Clara. It is a “Coronavirus Checker”. It is currently launched in the U.S. only. As for functionality, it is similar to the above chatbot as it is also purposed to educate users on symptoms and share recommendations based on the triage.
Apple Siri Covid Advice
Is as it sounds, you ask Siri about the virus and the voice assistant will ask whether you are experiencing Covid 19 symptoms, such as fever, dry cough, or difficulty in breathing.
It looks like the screenshots below as shared by The Verge.
In the U.S., if it determines you are suffering from extreme or life-threatening illnesses, then you are advised to call 911. In case, you’re not sure, you’ll be asked to self-isolate. Additionally, it populates links to telehealth apps on the App Store, for those who are having a hard time reaching a healthcare provider.
The information is pulled from the US’s Public Health Service, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Apple should update location-specific info soon.
ALSO READ: COVID-19 testing centers In India
Google Assistant Covid 19 Tips
If you invoke your Google Assistant by saying Hey Google, the resultant pop-up now has a ‘Coronavirus tips’ shortcut. Tap on it and you’ll get the feed with the latest news on the pandemic, some basic lifestyle and hygiene tips.
Moreover, the company has been pushing the “Do The Five” hand hygiene campaign.
Also, a simple search of Coronavirus or Covid 19 highlights crucial and recent headlines at the top. It also presents the links to mohfw.gov.in (India)
Google Covid 19 Website
Needless to say, Covid-19 is the trending search, something which Google acknowledges. Thus, the search giant was prompt on building a repository of everything Covid19. Although restricted to U.S.only, it has a huge library of useful information, which can be soaked by the rest of the blue planet.
Here take a look.
ALSO READ: Jio App includes a Covid 19 symptoms tracker
Facebook Information Center
By now, you may have already noticed Coronavirus banner up top your Facebook and Instagram feed. Click on that, and you’ll be redirected to the WHO or CDC websites.
These top-rung companies are doing their part in many other ways too. Thus, Big Tech definitely playing a vital role in helping the world during such a desperate situation.