Google searches for terms related to COVID-19 will now display information for more than 2,000 COVID-19 testing centers across 43 states in the US, the company tells The Verge.
There are other changes, too. When you search for something related to COVID-19, you’ll now see a new “Testing” tab as part of the information shown in Google’s COVID-19 SOS alert. When you click or tap that Testing tab, you’ll see a number of resources regarding COVID-19 testing at the top of your search results. Those include: a link to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) online COVID-19 symptom checker, a suggestion to talk to a healthcare provider if you think you should be tested, a link to COVID-19 testing information from your local health authorities, and a note that you may need to call ahead to a testing center to make sure you can actually get a test.
The Testing tab will also show you information about specific testing centers unless you’re in Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon or Pennsylvania, Google tells The Verge. That’s because Google is only surfacing testing locations that have been approved for publishing by health authorities, the company says. For the same reason, Google is only listing a single testing center located in Albany for the state of New York, but the company expects to add more New York listings soon.
Here’s what the results look like for me. I’m writing this from Portland, OR, so the results don’t list testing centers near me.
COVID-19 testing criteria and availability vary based on where you live, which is why Google is pointing toward local information with these resources. The testing information comes from “government agencies, public health departments, or directly from healthcare institutions,” according to a Google support document.
Google launched a COVID-19 website with information and resources about the pandemic on March 21st. Google’s sister company Verily also offers free COVID-19 tests to people in parts of California, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania if they qualify after taking an online screening.
Google isn’t the only company working to make it easier to find COVID-19 testing information. Last weekend, Apple launched a website so healthcare providers and labs that offer COVID-19 testing can submit their information and appear in Apple Maps search results as testing sites.