As we are an IT company, let’s focus on two of the major corporations that we are intimately invested in–Microsoft and Google–and what steps they have taken in the face of the current global health crisis.
Microsoft’s efforts have been primarily focused on increasing awareness. Bing now offers an interactive map that tracks the virus’ spread on both a global scale and by country. Pulling from the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and Wikipedia, there is a lot of data to draw from. The CDC has also joined with Microsoft to build a Self-Checker tool to help evaluate a person’s need to be tested. Powered by AI, a user can establish if it would be wise to be tested, and (while it offers no concrete medical advice) suggested next steps to take. As a result, emergency services can see a reduced number of patients calling upon them, as those without a need won’t be adding pressure to the already at-maximum capacity.
Google has also taken considerable measures to assist in awareness and education efforts. The official blog currently features a collection of posts that detail their ongoing efforts and solutions–such as educational resources for students and teachers to use, handy advice to improve video calls and other remote collaboration tools, and other small business resources.
Along with these ongoing posts, Google Search has been outfitted with features to further boost awareness. Any search that references coronavirus activates an SOS Alert, generating a sidebar that delivers a situational report: what coronavirus is, its symptoms, how to prevent it, how it can be treated, and other statistics. In addition, the top stories are committed to coronavirus content, and a graph of the cases worldwide and more resources frame your results on the right side. Speaking of your results, they will be filled with tweets related to COVID-19, suggested videos to watch, and even more news updates and resources.
On YouTube, there is now a curated playlist dedicated to how to better work from home, called WFH Essentials. Admittedly, these videos aren’t completely relevant to the COVID-19 guidelines, as some endorse spending time in public, but other components can be seen as useful. There have also been some changes in how YouTube creators are compensated, dinging them for unhelpful, misleading, and inaccurate information.
As far as financial contributions are concerned, Google has given SMBs, healthcare organizations and their workers, and governments more than $800 million. This sum includes the support of research and the production of personal protective equipment. Interestingly, they have also set aside $340 million in Google Ad credits for small businesses to use. If you have had a Google Ad account that has been active since the beginning of 2019, check your account for a notification.
While we may initially see these huge businesses as impervious to these kinds of concerns, COVID-19 has proved differently. Fortunately, many investments have been made by these businesses to fight back.
How has your business coped with this crisis? Tell us in the comments, and don’t hesitate to reach out to SRS Networks to learn how the right IT solutions could potentially reduce coronavirus’ influence on your business operations.