Here’s What Google Is Doing to Avoid Misinformation Around COVID Vaccine Drive in India

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India is in the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination drive, and as the country gradually returns to normal life and work, COVID-19 still continues to affect many people across the country. As the government of India continues to manage one of the largest vaccination drives in the world, tech giant Google is doing its bit to eliminate misinformation and disinformation around the vaccine. In a blog post, the Mountain View, California-based giant laid out the steps it has taken to surface authoritative and timely information for people asking vaccine-related questions.

Google said that it has worked with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to amplify the science-based narrative around the vaccination drive. Google said it has been working closely with the Rapid Risk Response team at the MoFHW that is tracking misinformation using social media tools across regions and languages, and is countering it with science-based messaging on vaccines and pandemic response overall.

Google, in its blog post, detailed about the Knowledge Panels that appear in the Google Search for queries related to the COVID vaccine. These panels provide consolidated information such as details on the two vaccines, effectiveness, safety, distribution, side effects, and more. The panels are available in English, along with eight Indian languages including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and Hindi. This information is sourced from MoHFW and provides answers to commonly asked questions, displays real-time statistics around vaccinations completed, and provides links to the MoHFW website for additional local resources.

Google said that it also supported the Ministry of Health in helping optimise their website for mobile viewers by improving the website’s page load times, enabling users to find information quickly.

On YouTube, Google has launched information panels that show up when COVID-related queries are searched for and also has a banner on the YouTube homepage, both of which redirect to key vaccine resources on the MoHFW website.

Google also said that it is working with various organisations including MoHFW and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accurately show information on vaccination centers on Google Search, Maps, and Google Assistant, and expects to roll this out in the coming weeks.

Google also delivers Google Trend reports on COVID-19 vaccine queries that reflect interest around the vaccination from month to month across regions.

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