COVID-19 Stories June 16

Google is making it easier to find at-home COVID tests

As COVID-19 has become something we’re learning to live with, Google is announcing new changes to how it handles information about the pandemic in Search. These adjustments include easier results for at-home COVID tests.

COVID-19 Stories June 14

At the end of June 2021, Google Pay gained the ability to save and display COVID-19 vaccination cards on Android. More countries and states are letting people add this “COVID Card” to their Android phones.

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COVID-19 Stories March 2

Google employees will return en masse to Bay Area offices starting in April 

Back in December, Google postponed its early 2022 return to office plans and held out on providing a new date amid the Omicron wave. Google informed US employees today that they have to return to offices at the start of April.

COVID-19 Stories December 23, 2021

Following many other tech companies in recent days, Waymo and Google announced today that it’s no longer having an in-person presence at CES 2022 due to the “quickly evolving COVID infection rates.”

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COVID-19 Stories December 15, 2021

Google employees unvaccinated against COVID-19 will be put on leave starting next month

Google previously announced its policy of mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for employees, and now the company is preparing to put those who have not complied on unpaid leave in accordance with that policy.

COVID-19 Stories December 2, 2021

At the end of August, Google delayed its wide-scale office return to early 2022. That is now being pushed back again and a new date will be determined at the start of next year.

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COVID-19 Stories September 29, 2021

Misinformation can have harmful effects on everyone, especially when the world is fighting off a pandemic. YouTube has been working to stop the spread of misinformation around COVID-19 and its vaccines, but today the platform has announced a sweeping ban on all anti-vaccine content that spreads misinformation.

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COVID-19 Stories August 31, 2021

Google delays wide-scale October office return to early 2022

Joining a slew of other companies amid the Delta variant of COVID-19, Google today announced that the vast majority of staff won’t have to return to offices until January 10, 2022. 

COVID-19 Stories August 18, 2021

As COVID-19 rages on, the best way to stay protected is by getting vaccinated, and now, more places in the US and abroad are making vaccines a requirement for entry. To help you bring your card around, Samsung Pay will soon be able to house your COVID-19 vaccine information.

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While its formal debut has yet to be scheduled, we already know the Pixel 6 is coming this fall, thanks to Google’s early reveal. Behind the scenes, though, it seems production is facing a pandemic-caused hurdle that will see the Pixel 6 made in China.

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COVID-19 Stories August 4, 2021

Google Doodle promotes COVID-19 prevention w/ masks and vaccinations [Updated]

Google has launched a fantastic animated homepage Doodle featuring the letters of “Google” practicing COVID-19 prevention methods, including wearing masks, staying socially distant, and getting vaccinated.

COVID-19 Stories July 28, 2021

Sundar Pichai kicked off yesterday’s Alphabet Q2 2021 earnings call by encouraging “everyone to get the vaccine when it’s available to you.” In an internal memo today, the Google CEO announced that vaccinations will be required for employees working at offices.

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COVID-19 Stories June 30, 2021

Google has announced today that Google Pay is now capable of saving and displaying COVID-19 vaccination cards on Android, starting with select providers in the United States.

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COVID-19 Stories June 19, 2021

According to many user reports over the past day, MassNotify — the Massachusetts exposure notifications app  — was automatically installed on Android phones without warning. It’s unclear if this was an intentional decision or a bug, but exposure notifications did not also get enabled with the install.

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COVID-19 Stories May 15, 2021

Google Maps adds ‘Search COVID-19 vaccines’ encouragement

Over the past year, Google has leveraged its large platforms to display useful, pandemic-related information. The latest is a simple encouragement in Google Maps about finding COVID-19 vaccines near you. 

COVID-19 Stories May 10, 2021

Google shares one heartwarming reason to get vaccinated as captured by a Nest Hello [Video]

Back in March, Google kicked off a “Get back to what you love” Search campaign. The latest iteration of that message to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine comes from Made by Google and was captured by a Nest Hello.

COVID-19 Stories April 30, 2021

Despite being one of the first to embrace remote work, Google is adamant about getting its employees back in the office. This hybrid, “flexible workweek” is part of the company’s belief that in-person — and often unplanned — interactions spur new ideas and solutions. Google today shared its plan for post-pandemic offices. 

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COVID-19 Stories April 29, 2021

The last year has seen many more people turn to the internet for work, learning, shopping, socializing, and entertainment. Google Fiber reports that its networks nationwide saw an approximately 32% increase in demand.

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COVID-19 Stories April 28, 2021

If you’re like me, the vaccine shot in your arm means you’re looking into finally taking a trip after staying locked down for a year. To help you travel safely and in line with local guidelines, Google will now send you alerts regarding pandemic-related restrictions at your destination along with other handy travel tools for the COVID era.

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COVID-19 Stories April 27, 2021

Google will fix an issue that allowed other apps access to COVID-19 contact tracing logs

While it didn’t scale in the way it really needed to, contact tracing was a big deal as tech was utilized in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. An issue on the Android side of the Google/Apple COVID-19 contact-tracing API, though, may have allowed other apps access to the logs stored on your device.

COVID-19 Stories April 26, 2021

Google products have a large reach, and YouTube wants to use its platform to “encourage people to get informed about the vaccine.” YouTube’s COVID-19 vaccine info PSA is starting in the US and will expand to other countries.

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COVID-19 Stories April 15, 2021

Google now showing COVID-19 vaccination locations in 6 countries, funding 250,000 shots

As the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues, Google today announced a number of additional efforts to help achieve distribution equity worldwide, like surfacing locations in Maps and Search. The philanthropic arm is making several donations to increase access in the US and abroad.

COVID-19 Stories April 3, 2021

During the NCAA Final Four this evening, Google aired its “Get back to what you love” ad and the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive for both the emotional impact and how well-crafted it was in encouraging people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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COVID-19 Stories March 23, 2021

Google promotes finding a nearby COVID-19 vaccine w/ ‘Get back to what you love’ video

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Google has used its wildly popular online tools such as Maps and Search to help curb the spread of misinformation and give people the resources they need to stay safe. Now, Google has posted a new video that reminds users they can use Search to find a nearby COVID vaccine.

COVID-19 Stories January 29, 2021

COVID-19 has had a lot of negative effects on the market, but it’s been great for the PC market as millions of people transitioned to working and learning from home. As a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chromebook market in particular exploded with growth over 4x.

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COVID-19 Stories January 25, 2021

CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday detailed a handful of initiatives to help boost vaccine distribution amid the ongoing pandemic. One physical effort involves offering Google offices as COVID-19 vaccination sites.

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Google today announced several efforts to aid COVID-19 vaccine distribution in the US. CEO Sundar Pichai announced $150 million in ad grants, while various Google products will soon display local information.

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COVID-19 Stories January 13, 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, Google and Apple worked together on a new API for Android and iOS devices that would make contact tracing both easy and secure. Right now, though, the Android API for COVID-19 seems to be causing a “loading” notification error for some users.

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COVID-19 Stories January 12, 2021

Yelp shows user reports of places not following COVID-19 guidelines; Google should too

As COVID-19 rages on, tech is helping people stay safe and informed. Today, Yelp announced that it would allow customers to report on businesses that aren’t following COVID-19 guidelines such as employees lacking masks, and it’s something Google should also be doing.

COVID-19 Stories January 7, 2021

An update to Google Play Services beta points to smartwatches and possibly other wearables being used to collect and share COVID-19 exposure notification info.

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Google’s various only platforms have been an important resource for many during the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the company is further improving those resources. Google Search can now show the COVID-19 “Health & Safety” requirements and options at local businesses.

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COVID-19 Stories December 18, 2020

Alphabet was one of the first companies to mandate remote work back in March and is continually pushing back office reopening. As a free benefit, Google is now letting employees request weekly, home COVID-19 tests.

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COVID-19 Stories December 13, 2020

Back in March, Google was one of the first companies to have employees work remotely in response to COVID-19. The expected return date has been pushed back several times now, with the latest target being September 2021. At that time, a “flexible workweek” will be tested.

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COVID-19 Stories December 10, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage on, breaking new records with each passing day. On the bright side, though, the first COVID-19 vaccines are on their way to hopefully bring this all to an end. To help prevent the spread of misinformation and make research easier, Google has announced that it will bring COVID-19 vaccine details to the forefront in search results.

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COVID-19 Stories October 21, 2020

Back in June, Google announced that the summer wave of incoming engineering interns would focus on open source projects. With COVID-19 conditions mostly unchanged, Google announced today that internships will remain virtual in 2021.

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COVID-19 Stories September 23, 2020

Since the start of this year, Google has added a number of useful resources about how to get around amid a pandemic. A new Google Maps layer now works to show COVID-19 case trends “in an area so you can make more informed decisions.”

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COVID-19 Stories September 10, 2020

Waze lays off 30 employees as revenue drops during the pandemic

Like many other businesses this year, Google-owned Waze is suffering as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to declining ad revenues, Waze is laying off a portion of its staff and closing some offices.

COVID-19 Stories September 7, 2020

During the coronavirus pandemic, Google has been trying to provide useful data to its users through some of its most popular products. Now, it appears that Google Maps is preparing to add a new layer that shows where COVID-19 outbreaks are at their worst.

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COVID-19 Stories September 1, 2020

Back in May, Apple and Google rolled out a system to help trace who has COVID-19. The two companies today announced “Exposure Notifications Express” to hopefully boost adoption by doing most of the hard technical work. As such, local health agencies no longer have to create individual apps, but rather can rely on Apple and Google.

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COVID-19 Stories August 25, 2020

Google Fi ending COVID-19 payment grace period, 30GB of full-speed data next week

In response to COVID-19, Google Fi in March temporarily raised its full-speed data limit. That measure, along with an extended grace period for payments, is coming to an end next week.

The economy as a whole is in turmoil right now, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and that’s hitting smartphones sales hard. After a report from Canalys earlier this year saw the biggest sales dip ever in Q1 2020, things have gotten even worse in Q2.

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COVID-19 Stories August 24, 2020

The era of COVID-19 has changed everything, and masks have become the new normal. Rolling out now in its weather “app,” Google’s little frog mascot now also wears a mask.

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COVID-19 Stories August 12, 2020

With the COVID-19 pandemic showing no signs of ending anytime soon, Google has been encouraging users to take preventative measures. Now, Google Assistant is singing a cute song to tell you to wear a mask when you go out.

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COVID-19 Stories July 31, 2020

Google today provided an update on its work with Exposure Notifications to help combat COVID-19. This includes improvements to the underlying API, adoption by US states, and user-facing tweaks since May.

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COVID-19 Stories July 30, 2020

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Google hasn’t been shy about sharing safety tips for users. In another positive change to Google Maps, the company is now showing a banner that encourages people to wear a mask when they go out.

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COVID-19 Stories July 9, 2020

For many, exercise has been one area particularly affected by COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing requirements. Google Fit wants to help ease that by integrating YouTube playlists on staying healthy indoors.

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COVID-19 Stories July 1, 2020

At the end of May, Sundar Pichai laid out when Google would begin to reopen their offices. Since then, circumstances in the United States have changed, and Google is delaying their original July 6 date.

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COVID-19 Stories June 29, 2020

Back in April, Google introduced easy access to COVID-19 information across Assistant, Podcasts, and News. The latest feature for the latter app surfaces local information, including reopening timelines.

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