Google has been taking the lead in many ways towards fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the most important ways for it have been to spread awareness among the masses through their Doodle, PSAs, and also the knowledge panels. But that is not all that Google intends to do. The company has come up with a brilliant idea as well as an effort that will see Google highlighting the information related to COVID-19 by various websites belonging to the government as well as authentic health agencies.
The Google company wants to make sure that all the important information related to COVID-19 that will affect the lives of the general population needs to be displayed as well as told to the people. The government agencies have been regularly updating their websites with proper information regarding COVID-19. But most people are unaware of that. Hence, Google will be displaying these announcements as small snippets of the information under the search bar, or a page name, under the search result’s URL path, etc.
This new update by Google is still under development but is active. The result that will be displayed will contain a short summary of the announcement with the link to expand it and know more about it. The format of the announcement may change with time as it is still under development, and Google will take in the reviews as well as feedback of people accessing it to make it more convenient for users to view the information and share it with their close ones.
The announcements by the government are being shown currently on the Google search page as the list of updates that can be shown or hidden by a user accessing it. The list will also consist of some links that will take them to the official page, which will provide them with more information related to the announcement.
The special announcement that will be showcased by Google will first be available for only government websites and other authentic legal health agencies. The information will contain important updates like school closures, and guidelines to stay at home, etc. Google has also asked other websites to markup their sites, as the company wishes to expand its announcement policy to two other websites as well.
The company has released a statement on this, which says, “While we might not immediately show announcements from other types of sites, seeing the markup will help us better understand how to expand this feature.”9to5Google
Google has also made it possible for Website owners to appear in their special announcements by adding structured data to their page. This will make it easy for the company to retrieve information and automatically display it in its announcement section as soon as changes are made to the site. Regarding this, the company has released a statement that says, “We recommend using this method because it is the easiest way for us to take in this information, it enables reporting through Search Console in the future, and enables you to make updates.”
But in the case of website owners who do not wish to make a change to their structured data, the company has another alternate solution that involves some manual effort from the website owner’s side. The website will have to submit announcements through the search console directly. This is for those websites that lack the technical capability to support and implement structured data. The sites need to be verified and authenticated to gain access to the search console and publish their announcement.
Although this entire procedure is still under beta test, and maybe a short term solution for websites that lack the capability of implementing structured data, the Google Company will surely come up with some long term solution that will be much easier to implement for both the company as well as the Website owners. Till now, the announcements are surely helping people to become aware of the coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines that need to be followed.
The company is also working on some more updates which will be released soon in the coming weeks.