Tag Archives: Company announcements

Working from home and the office

Sundar sent the following email to Google employees earlier today.

Hi Googlers, 

As mentioned in our last TGIF, we’ll be approaching the return to office with a gradual, phased approach, taking both team and individual needs and preferences into account: we are taking slow, deliberate steps to begin re-opening offices in areas where they still remain largely closed. We’re also investing more in your work-from-home setup to make sure you have what you need to be productive and comfortable. 

Beginning July 6, assuming external conditions allow, we’ll start to open more buildings in more cities. This will give Googlers who need to come back to the office—or, capacity permitting, who want to come back—the opportunity to return on a limited, rotating basis (think: one day every couple of weeks, so roughly 10 percent building occupancy). We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left. Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols. 

In the September timeframe (again, assuming conditions allow), we will further scale the rotation program, building over time to 30 percent capacity (which would mean most people who want to come in could do so on a limited basis, while still prioritizing those who need to come in). 

There are a limited number of Googlers whose roles are needed back in office this calendar year. If this applies to you, your manager will let you know by June 10. For everyone else, returning to the office will be voluntary through the end of the year, and we encourage you to continue to work from home if you can. 

While some of you have expressed interest in coming back to the office, others have asked whether it’s okay to temporarily relocate to another place to be closer to family while you’re working from home. Please talk with your manager if you are considering this, and review the guidelines, which include important information about a number of personal factors you should consider (such as your tax filings and health coverage/eligibility).

Moving ahead, we are looking to develop more overall flexibility in how we work. Our campuses are designed to enable collaboration and community—in fact, some of our greatest innovations were the result of chance encounters in the office—and it’s clear this is something many of us don’t want to lose. At the same time, we are very familiar with distributed work as we have many offices around the world and open-minded about the lessons we’ll learn through this period. We continue to study all the data and feedback you’re sharing on your current experience. I believe that ultimately these insights will lead to more flexibility and choice for employees as they consider how to work in the future. 

Because we still expect that most Googlers will be largely working from home for the rest of this year, we’ll be giving each Googler an allowance of $1,000 USD, or the equivalent value in your country, to expense necessary equipment and office furniture.

Finally, we continue to experiment with sharing more of our in-office experiences virtually, with a focus on health, wellness, and fun. A couple of examples: fitness with gFit instructors, cooking and nutrition lessons from Google chefs, and [email protected] Storytime.

We’ll share more specifics on the return to office plan and answer questions on this topic at upcoming forums. Thank you for everything you are doing to support our users and partners. It’s important work that is making a big difference.

Please continue to take good care of yourselves and one another.

Exposure Notification API launches to support public health agencies

Note: The following is a joint statement from Apple and Google.

One of the most effective techniques that public health officials have used during outbreaks is called contact tracing. Through this approach, public health officials contact, test, treat and advise people who may have been exposed to an affected person. One new element of contact tracing is Exposure Notifications: using privacy-preserving digital technology to tell someone they may have been exposed to the virus. Exposure Notification has the specific goal of rapid notification, which is especially important to slowing the spread of the disease with a virus that can be spread asymptomatically.   

To help, Apple and Google cooperated to build Exposure Notifications technology that will enable apps created by public health agencies to work more accurately, reliably and effectively across both Android phones and iPhones. Over the last several weeks, our two companies have worked together, reaching out to public health officials, scientists, privacy groups and government leaders all over the world to get their input and guidance. 

Starting today, our Exposure Notifications technology is available to public health agencies on both iOS and Android. What we’ve built is not an app—rather public health agencies will incorporate the API into their own apps that people install. Our technology is designed to make these apps work better. Each user gets to decide whether or not to opt-in to Exposure Notifications; the system does not collect or use location from the device; and if a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is up to them whether or not to report that in the public health app. User adoption is key to success and we believe that these strong privacy protections are also the best way to encourage use of these apps.  

Today, this technology is in the hands of public health agencies across the world who will take the lead and we will continue to support their efforts. 

Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology

Across the world, governments and health authorities are working together to find solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect people and get society back up and running. Software developers are contributing by crafting technical tools to help combat the virus and save lives. In this spirit of collaboration, Google and Apple are announcing a joint effort to enable the use of Bluetooth technology to help governments and health agencies reduce the spread of the virus, with user privacy and security central to the design.

Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health organizations have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread. A number of leading public health authorities, universities, and NGOs around the world have been doing important work to develop opt-in contact tracing technology. To further this cause, Apple and Google will be launching a comprehensive solution that includes application programming interfaces (APIs) and operating system-level technology to assist in enabling contact tracing. Given the urgent need, the plan is to implement this solution in two steps while maintaining strong protections around user privacy. 

First, in May, both companies will release APIs that enable interoperability between Android and iOS devices using apps from public health authorities. These official apps will be available for users to download via their respective app stores. 

Second, in the coming months, Apple and Google will work to enable a broader Bluetooth-based contact tracing platform by building this functionality into the underlying platforms. This is a more robust solution than an API and would allow more individuals to participate, if they choose to opt in, as well as enable interaction with a broader ecosystem of apps and government health authorities. Privacy, transparency, and consent are of utmost importance in this effort, and we look forward to building this functionality in consultation with interested stakeholders. We will openly publish information about our work for others to analyze.

All of us at Apple and Google believe there has never been a more important moment to work together to solve one of the world’s most pressing problems. Through close cooperation and collaboration with developers, governments and public health providers, we hope to harness the power of technology to help countries around the world slow the spread of COVID-19 and accelerate the return of everyday life.

Apple and Google partner on COVID-19 contact tracing technology

COVID-19: $800+ million to support small businesses and crisis response

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to worsen around the world, it’s taking a devastating toll on lives and communities. To help address some of these challenges, today we’re announcing a new $800+ million commitment to support small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), health organizations and governments, and health workers on the frontline of this global pandemic. 


Our commitment includes:


  • $250 million in ad grants to help the World Health Organization (WHO) and more than 100 government agencies globally provide critical information on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other measures to help local communities. This is an increase from our initial $25 million announced last month. In addition, we’re providing $20 million in ad grants to community financial institutions and NGOs specifically to run public service announcements on relief funds and other resources for SMBs.

  • A $200 million investment fund that will support NGOs and financial institutions around the world to help provide small businesses with access to capital. As one example, we’re working with the Opportunity Finance Network in the U.S. to help fill gaps in financing for people and communities underserved by mainstream financial institutions. This is in addition to the $15 million in cash grants Google.org is already providing to nonprofits to help bridge these gaps for SMBs.

  • $340 million in Google Ads credits available to all SMBs with active accounts over the past year. Credit notifications will appear in their Google Ads accounts and can be used at any point until the end of 2020 across our advertising platforms. We hope it will help to alleviate some of the cost of staying in touch with their customers.

  • A pool of $20 million in Google Cloud credits for academic institutions and researchers to leverage our computing capabilities and infrastructure as they study potential therapies and vaccines, track critical data, and identify new ways to combat COVID-19. Learn how to apply for credits on the Google for Education site.

  • Direct financial support and expertise to help increase the production capacity for personal protective equipment (PPE) and lifesaving medical devices. We’re working with our longtime supplier and partner Magid Glove & Safety, with the goal of ramping up production of 2-3 million face masks in the coming weeks that will be provided to the CDC Foundation. Additionally, employees from across Alphabet, including Google, Verily and X, are bringing engineering, supply chain and healthcare expertise to facilitate increased production of ventilators, working with equipment manufacturers, distributors and the government in this effort.

In addition to these commitments, we also increased the gift match Google offers every employee annually to $10,000 from $7,500. That means our employees can now give $20,000 to organizations in their communities, in addition to the $50 millionGoogle.org has already donated. Together, we’ll continue to help our communities—including our businesses, educators, researchers and nonprofits—to navigate the challenges ahead.

More from this Collection

Google's response to COVID-19

Updates about actions we're taking to keep employees safe, help people stay informed and connected, support small businesses and other organizations, and more. 

View all 19 articles

Actions to reduce the need for people to come into our offices

During the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, many companies are closing their offices and directing their employees to work from home (WFH), schools are moving to online classes and people are quickly adopting social distancing measures. Our priority is to take care of people who work in our offices—including employees, vendors and temporary staff—and the communities they work in. So we’ve been taking action to reduce the need for people to come into our offices, particularly in locations where local COVID-19 conditions merit increased precaution.

At the same time, we know that people rely on Google’s products and services, so a limited proportion of employees, temporary staff and vendors continue to work in our offices, because some important jobs can only be done onsite—like those who need to access the most sensitive content or account data for user and customer safety and security. (For example, the people who help you if your account gets hacked.)

Here’s how we’re reducing the need for people to come into our offices while ensuring that our products continue to operate under these unique circumstances. 

Remote access

In most parts of the world, we’ve recommended that everyone who can work from home should do so. We’re also increasing the ability for employees, temporary staff and vendors to work from home by rolling out remote access and equipment, like secure laptops, where feasible. We’re working closely with our partners to provide the right equipment and guidance as fast as possible.

Prioritizing workflows

To reduce the need for support staff to come into the office, where possible we’re prioritizing support work that is critical—like account recovery, security, and certain advertising-related reviews (such as preventing COVID-19 scams, or inappropriate ad placements). 

Increasing automation 

We’ve always used a combination of humans and machines to review content on our platforms, like YouTube. We will temporarily be increasing our reliance on automated systems given this unique situation, to reduce the need for people to come into the office. Our goal is to continue to act quickly to remove content that violates our community guidelines and policies. 

Adjusting shifts

To promote social distancing and reduce the number of people in the office at a given time, in some locations, we’ll change the timing of shifts, the timing between shifts, and the number of people on a given shift based on the work required.

Temporary implications for support times

We know that right now, people around the world need information, communication and computation more than ever. We’re deeply committed to helping. All our products remain fully operational. The changes we’re making to our operations won’t impact their availability. 

However, given the steps we need to take due to these unprecedented times, there may be some temporary limitations and delays in support in some cases:

  • Some users, advertisers, developers and publishers may experience delays in some support response times for non-critical services, which will now be supported primarily through our chat, email, and self-service channels. 

  • Our goal on YouTube is to ensure we are removing content that violates our policies. We've invested significantly in automated systems for content review but they are not always as accurate or granular in their analysis of content as human reviewers. These systems are configured deliberately to identify content that may violate our policies. So on YouTube there may be an increase in content classified for removal during this time—including some content that does not violate our policies. Turnaround times for appeals against these decisions may be slower. You can read more on the YouTube blog

  • For other Google products, our automated systems may not always accurately classify content for removal, and human review of these decisions may be slower.

We will provide updates if there are additional delays in support over time.

Covering our workforce

As we temporarily reduce the need for people to come into the office, we’ve committed that during this time, members of our extended workforce who are affected by reduced schedules will be compensated for the time they would have worked. We also established a COVID-19 fund so that members of our extended workforce who would not otherwise be paid will be compensated for their normal working hours if they can’t come into work because they have potential symptoms of COVID-19 or if they’re quarantined. For those coming to the office, we have significantly enhanced our hygiene and cleaning operations, are increasing spacing between people, and in some locations have instituted temperature checks.

We thank you for your support and understanding during this challenging period, and we think this is the right thing to do for the people who work here, and the community at large.

COVID-19: How we’re continuing to help

For 21 years, Google’s mission has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Helping people get the right information to stay healthy is more important than ever in the face of a global pandemic like COVID-19. Since my last update, we’ve accelerated our work to help people stay safe, informed and connected. Here are the latest developments in our ongoing global response.

Helping people find useful information

We’re partnering with the U.S. government in developing a website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide. This includes best practices on prevention, links to authoritative information from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and helpful tips and tools from Google for individuals, teachers and businesses. We’ll be rolling out an initial version of the website late Monday, March 16, and we’ll continue to enhance and update it with more resources on an ongoing basis.


We also continue to help people find timely and useful information through our products, including Search, Maps and YouTube. Right now on the Google homepage we’re promoting the “Do the Five” campaign to raise awareness of simple measures people can take to slow the spread of the disease, according to the WHO. In the first 24 hours, these tips have already been seen by millions in the U.S. We’ve added more useful information to our COVID-19 SOS Alerts, including links to national health authority sites and a map of affected areas from the WHO.
DoTheFive_GIF_1200x1200.gif

“Do the Five” raises awareness of simple measures people can take to slow the spread of the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

On YouTube, we’re using the homepage to direct users to videos from the CDC or other locally relevant public health agencies. We’re highlighting content from authoritative sources when people search for COVID-19, and inserting information panels to provide additional context from high-quality sources.


With so many disruptions to daily life, people are looking for more information about school or business closures. Based on data from governments and other authoritative sources, Google Search and Maps will now display if a place, like a school or local business, is temporarily closed. In the coming days, we’ll make it possible for businesses to easily mark themselves as “temporarily closed” using Google My Business. We’re also using our artificial intelligence (AI) technology Duplex where possible to contact businesses to confirm their updated business hours, so we can reflect them accurately when people are looking on Search and Maps. 


For travelers looking for which airlines are offering flexible cancellation policies and change fees, we’re helping to direct users of Google Flights to a special webpage with the information they need. This page is currently offered in English, with more languages coming soon.

Protecting people from misinformation

Promoting helpful information is only one part of our responsibility. We’re also removing COVID-19 misinformation on YouTube, Google Maps, our developer platforms like Play, and across ads. On YouTube, we’ve taken down thousands of videos related to dangerous or misleading coronavirus information, and we continue to remove videos that promote medically unproven methods to prevent coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment. On Google Maps, our automated and manual review systems continue to take down false and harmful content such as fake reviews and misleading information about healthcare locations. 


When it comes to advertising on our platforms, we have strict policies to govern the types of ads we allow. This includes a sensitive events policy which prohibits advertising that may try to capitalize on tragic events such as a natural disaster, conflict or death. Since January we’ve blocked hundreds of thousands of ads attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic, and last week we announced a temporary ban on all ads for medical masks and respirators.

Enabling productivity for remote users and students

As more employers have asked workers to stay at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we’re seeing more people using the premium features of Meet, our video conferencing app, which we made available to all G Suite customers at no cost until July 1, 2020. We’ve also shared tips and resources for remote workers of all kinds.


For educators around the globe, we’ve created new distance learning resources, including a collection of training materials, a new YouTube Learning Hub, and a series of blog posts and webinars. We're working with Google Educator Groups around the world, for example in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan, to provide local content from teachers for teachers. In Italy, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, we’re helping schools quickly get set up with G Suite for Education and are working to provide additional technical support through partners. We’ll continue working with educators to see what more we can do to help as they navigate the transition to distance learning.
classroom - covid update post.gif

For educators and schools facing closures, distance learning tools can help keep students engaged.

Supporting relief efforts and government organizations

Through our philanthropic arm Google.org, we are committing $50 million to the global COVID-19 response, focusing on health and science, access to educational resources and small business support. 


We have been working in close collaboration directly with the WHO. As part of that collaboration, on Friday we announced we’ll bematching up to $5 million in donations to the WHO’s new COVID-19Solidarity Response Fund. The fund will help the WHO track and understand the spread of the virus and help frontline workers with essential supplies and information. We also made a $500,000 grant to a team of researchers, epidemiologists and software developers at Boston Children's Hospital working onHealthMap, a website that provides up-to-date trends of emerging public health threats and outbreaks. Our grant and technical expertise will support development of their infrastructure to inform COVID-19 response and epidemiological modeling.


In the coming weeks, we’ll launch a Distance Learning Fund to help learning continue around the globe, as well as support for small businesses, including resources and access to capital. 


Another way we’re supporting governments and relief organizations is through our $25 million Google Ad Grants crisis relief program. To date, COVID-19 public service announcements are live in more than 15 countries.

Advancing health research and science

Alphabet’s Verily, which is focused on health and life sciences, is working in collaboration with California state, local and federal health authorities to help establish testing sites in the San Francisco Bay Area, and on an online tool to increase risk screening and testing for people at high risk of COVID-19. Californians will be able to take an online COVID-19 screener survey through Verily’s Project Baseline, and those who meet eligibility and requirements for testing will be directed to mobile testing sites based on capacity. While Verily is in the early stages of this pilot program, the plan is to expand to other locations over time.


As previously shared, DeepMind released predictions that could help scientists better understand the coronavirus protein structure in order to develop future treatments.

Taking care of our global community

Across all of this work, we’re focused on the impact the disease is having on our communities. That includes our own workforce. Last week, we established a COVID-19 fund, which will allow all our temporary staff and vendors globally to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19 or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined. We’ll continue to make sure our workforce is supported as this crisis evolves. 


In this unprecedented moment, we feel a great responsibility to help. We’ll keep doing everything we can to deliver on our mission, and help people take care of themselves and their communities. 

Supporting our extended workforce through the COVID-19 outbreak

As COVID-19 makes its way across the globe, we want to ensure that our workforce has the support they need.

Last week we committed that members of our extended workforce who are affected by reduced office schedules (such as closed cafes resulting from offices moving to work-from-home arrangements) will be compensated for the time they would have worked. Today we’re making an additional commitment on sick leave.

Most members of our extended workforce around the world (like the vendors who provide important campus services or the temporary staff who work on short-term projects) have sick leave benefits, whether through required government benefits or from their employers. 

But this is not universal. For example, the United States does not have federal laws mandating paid sick leave. Last year we introduced new requirements for all companies that employ U.S. vendors and temporary staff assigned to Google, making it mandatory for them to provide their employees with paid sick leave (in addition to other minimum benefits required), in order to do business with Google. This is rolling out to their employees.

As we’re in a transition period in the U.S.—and to cover any gaps elsewhere in the world—Google is establishing a COVID-19 fund that will enable all our temporary staff and vendors, globally, to take paid sick leave if they have potential symptoms of COVID-19, or can’t come into work because they’re quarantined. Working with our partners, this fund will mean that members of our extended workforce will be compensated for their normal working hours if they can’t come into work for these reasons. We are carefully monitoring the situation and will continue to assess any adjustments needed over the coming months.

This fund will also cover last week’s commitment relating to reduced office schedules.

We know it’s an uncertain time and everyone is navigating a lot of ambiguity right now. As we all do so, we want to help everyone in our workforce prioritize their health and the health of our communities.

Coronavirus: Cómo estamos ayudando

Blog en inglés aquí.

Tenga en cuenta que la siguiente información se basa en una nota enviada a todos los empleados hoy de parte de Sundar. 

A medida que COVID-19 se abre paso en todo el mundo, está afectando a nuestras comunidades de diferentes maneras. Muchos en Europa y América están hasta ahora experimentando lo que las personas en Asia han estado enfrentando durante semanas.

Hemos establecido un equipo de respuesta a incidentes las 24 horas del día para estar alineados con la Organización Mundial de la Salud, y los líderes de Google se están reuniendo diariamente para tomar decisiones críticas sobre nuestras oficinas a nivel mundial. 

Al hacerlo, sopesamos una serie de factores basados ​​en la ciencia, incluida la orientación de los departamentos de salud locales, las evaluaciones de transmisión comunitaria y nuestra capacidad para continuar el trabajo esencial y proveer los productos y servicios en los que las personas confían. También estamos creando resiliencia en nuestras operaciones, y en nuestros productos, probando nuestra propia capacidad para trabajar de forma remota. Y también es importante pensar en cómo podemos ayudar a nuestras comunidades locales en la medida en que hacemos estos cambios.

En algunas de nuestras oficinas, nuestros empleados están trabajando desde sus hogares para garantizar la continuidad del negocio, mientras que en otras siguen funcionando normalmente. A medida que hacemos estos cambios, nos hemos asegurado de que los proveedores de servicios que forman parte de nuestra fuerza laboral extendida que se ven afectados por horarios de trabajo reducidos sean compensados ​​por el tiempo que habrían trabajado.

Este es un momento sin precedentes. Es importante que lo abordemos con un sentido de calma y responsabilidad, pues tenemos muchas personas que cuentan con nosotros.

Todos los días, las personas recurren a los productos de Google para obtener ayuda: para acceder a información importante; mantenerse productivo mientras trabajan y aprenden de forma remota; mantenerse conectado con las personas cercanas en todas las geografías; o simplemente relajarse con un excelente video o música al final de un día largo.

A continuación, quiero compartir algunos ejemplos de lo que estamos haciendo para ayudar. En la medida en que la situación del coronavirus continúe evolucionando, estaremos pensando en más formas en que podemos ser útiles para todos nuestros usuarios, socios, clientes y comunidades.

Mientras tanto, continúen cuidándose a sí mismos y a los demás.

Ayudando a las personas a encontrar información útil

Las personas continúan acudiendo a Google para buscar información sobre vacunas, avisos de viajes y consejos de prevención (por ejemplo, las consultas de búsqueda para "consejos de limpieza de coronavirus" aumentaron más del 1,700 por ciento durante la última semana en los Estados Unidos). Nuestra Alerta SOS en la Búsqueda conecta a las personas con las últimas noticias, además de ofrecer consejos de seguridad y enlaces a información autorizada de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS).

Para las personas que buscan específicamente información sobre los síntomas, la prevención o los tratamientos, estamos trabajando para expandir nuestros paneles de conocimiento sobre condiciones de salud para incluir un panel COVID-19.

En YouTube, usaremos la página de inicio para dirigir a los usuarios a la OMS u otras organizaciones autorizadas localmente relevantes y donaremos inventarios de anuncios a gobiernos y ONG en las regiones afectadas para uso de educación e información. Google Maps continúa mostrando información local útil y confiable.

Proteger a las personas de la desinformación

Nuestro equipo de Trust & Safety (Confianza y Seguridad) ha estado trabajando durante todo el día y en todo el mundo para proteger a nuestros usuarios de phishing, teorías de conspiración, malware y desinformación, y estamos constantemente en búsqueda de nuevas amenazas. En YouTube, estamos trabajando para eliminar rápidamente cualquier contenido que pretenda prevenir el coronavirus en lugar de buscar tratamiento médico. En Google Ads, estamos bloqueando todos los anuncios que se aprovechan del coronavirus, y hemos bloqueado decenas de miles de anuncios en las últimas seis semanas. También estamos ayudando a la OMS y las organizaciones gubernamentales a publicar anuncios de PSA. Google Play también prohíbe a los desarrolladores capitalizar eventos confidenciales, y nuestras pólizas de contenido prohíben estrictamente las aplicaciones que presentan contenido o funcionalidades médicas o relacionadas con la salud que son engañosas o potencialmente dañinas.

Haciendo posible la productividad para trabajadores remotos y estudiantes

Empleados, educadores y estudiantes están utilizando productos como Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Classroom, Hangouts Meet y Hangouts Chat, así como G Suite for Education, para ser productivos mientras trabajan y aprenden de forma remota, incluidos cientos de miles de estudiantes en Hong Kong y Vietnam, donde las escuelas han sido cerradas. A partir de esta semana, implementamos acceso gratuito a nuestras capacidades avanzadas de videoconferencia de Hangouts Meet para todos los clientes de G Suite y G Suite for Education a nivel mundial hasta el 1 de julio de 2020. También estamos agregando recursos para poder apoyar una mayor demanda de transmisión pública en vivo en YouTube. Hemos visto un mayor interés en las regiones afectadas a medida que las personas buscan conectarse virtualmente con sus comunidades cuando no pueden hacerlo en persona.

Apoyando los esfuerzos de ayuda y las organizaciones gubernamentales

Estamos proporcionando $25 millones de dólares en créditos publicitarios donados a la OMS y agencias gubernamentales, y proporcionaremos más si es necesario durante todo el año. Google.org y Googlers han donado más de $1 millón de dólares para apoyar los esfuerzos de ayuda, que se destinarán a organizaciones que trabajan para comprar suministros médicos, proporcionar alimentos y alojamiento a los trabajadores de primera línea, apoyar la construcción de hospitales temporales y ayudar con los esfuerzos de recuperación a largo plazo. Google Cloud continúa trabajando con los gobiernos federales, estatales y locales para ayudarlos a conectarse con los ciudadanos y los viajeros que regresan de las regiones afectadas. Por ejemplo, en Singapur, Google Cloud trabajó con el gobierno para implementar un bot de chat en su sitio web que ayuda a responder las preguntas más comunes de los ciudadanos. También estamos trabajando con gobiernos de todo el mundo para ayudarlos a promover información pública autorizada sobre COVID-19 a través de nuestro programa de ayuda en caso de crisis de Google Ad Grants.

Avanzando en la investigación y la ciencia de la salud

DeepMind utilizó la última versión de su sistema AlphaFold (basándose en el trabajo de plegamiento de proteínas que apareció en Nature en enero) para publicar predicciones de la estructura de varias proteínas asociadas con el SARS-CoV-2, el virus que causa COVID-19. Estas predicciones de estructura aún no se han verificado experimentalmente, pero la esperanza es que al acelerar su liberación puedan contribuir a la comprensión de la comunidad científica de cómo funciona el virus y al trabajo experimental en el desarrollo de futuros tratamientos. Verily está desarrollando un pequeño parche de temperatura en el cuerpo que transmite datos a una aplicación de teléfono para proporcionar una notificación oportuna de fiebre y respaldar el diagnóstico y el tratamiento tempranos de una infección viral como la gripe o el coronavirus. Esto podría ser especialmente útil en poblaciones de edad avanzada, donde las infecciones virales tienen tasas más altas de morbilidad y mortalidad.


Coronavirus: How we’re helping

Note: The following is based on an email to employees that Sundar sent earlier today.

As COVID-19 makes its way across the globe, it’s affecting our communities in different ways. Many in Europe and the Americas are just now beginning to experience what people in Asia have been confronting for weeks. 

We have set up a 24-hour incident response team to stay in sync with the World Health Organization, and Google’s leaders are meeting daily to make critical decisions about our offices globally. 

In doing so, we weigh a number of factors grounded in science, including guidance from local health departments, community transmission assessments, and our ability to continue essential work and deliver the products and services people rely on. We’re also trying to build resilience into our operations—and our products—by testing our own capacity to work remotely. And it is also important to think about how we can help our local communities as we make these changes.

Some of our offices have shifted to a work-from-home status ensuring business continuity, while others are still operating as normal. As we make these changes, we have been making sure that our hourly service vendor workers in our extended workforce who are affected by reduced work schedules are compensated for the time they would have worked. 

This is an unprecedented moment. It’s important that we approach it with a sense of calm and responsibility—because we have many people counting on us.

Every day people turn to Google products for help: to access important information; to stay productive while working and learning remotely; to stay connected to people you care about across geographies; or to simply relax with a great video or some music at the end of a long day.  

I’ve shared some early examples of what we are doing to help below. As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, we will be thinking of even more ways we can be helpful to all of our users, partners, customers and communities. 

In the meantime, please continue to take care of yourselves and each other.

Helping people find useful information

People continue to come to Google to search for vaccine information, travel advisories and prevention tips (for example, search queries for "coronavirus cleaning advice" spiked over 1,700 percent over the last week in the U.S.). Our SOS Alert in Search connects people with the latest news plus safety tips and links to more authoritative information from the World Health Organization (WHO). 

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For people specifically looking for information about symptoms, prevention or treatments, we’re working to expand our Knowledge Panels for health conditions to include a COVID-19 panel.

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On YouTube, we’ll be using the homepage to direct users to the WHO or other locally relevant authoritative organizations and will donate ad inventory to governments and NGOs in impacted regions to use for education and information. Google Maps continues to surface helpful and reliable local information.

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Protecting people from misinformation

Our Trust and Safety team has been working around the clock and across the globe to safeguard our users from phishing, conspiracy theories, malware and misinformation, and we are constantly on the lookout for new threats. On YouTube, we are working to quickly remove any content that claims to prevent the coronavirus in place of seeking medical treatment. On Google Ads we are blocking all ads capitalizing on the coronavirus, and we’ve blocked tens of thousands of ads over the last six weeks. We are also helping WHO and government organizations run PSA ads. Google Play also prohibits developers from capitalizing on sensitive events, and our long-standing content policies strictly prohibit apps that feature medical or health-related content or functionalities that are misleading or potentially harmful.

Enabling productivity for remote workers and students

Employees, educators and students are using products like Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Classroom, Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat, as well as G Suite for Education, to be productive while working and learning remotely, including hundreds of thousands of students in Hong Kong and Vietnam, where schools have been closed. Starting this week we rolled out free access to our advanced Hangouts Meet video-conferencing capabilities to all G Suite and G Suite for Education customers globally until July 1, 2020. We’re also adding resources to be able to support increased demand for public livestreaming on YouTube. We’ve seen increased interest in affected regions as people look to be able to connect virtually with their communities when they are unable to do so in person.

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Supporting relief efforts and government organizations

We're providing $25 million in donated ad credit to the WHO and government agencies, and will provide more if there is a need throughout the year. Google.org and Googlers have donated over $1 million to support relief efforts, which will go towards organizations working to purchase medical supplies, provide frontline workers with food and lodging, support the construction of temporary hospitals, and help with long-term recovery efforts. Google Cloud continues to work with federal, state and local governments to help them connect with citizens and returning travelers from impacted regions. For example, in Singapore, Google Cloud worked with the government to implement a chat bot on their website that helps answer citizens’ most common questions. We’re also working with governments around the globe to help them promote authoritative public information about COVID-19 through our Google Ad Grants crisis relief program.

Advancing health research and science

DeepMind used the latest version of its AlphaFold system (building on the protein folding work that appeared in Nature in January) to release structure predictions of several proteins associated with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These structure predictions have not yet been experimentally verified, but the hope is that by accelerating their release they may contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of how the virus functions and experimental work in developing future treatments. Verily is developing a small, body-worn temperature patch that transmits data to a phone application to provide timely notification of fever and support earlier diagnosis and treatment of a viral infection like the flu or coronavirus. This could be especially useful in elderly populations, where viral infections have higher rates of morbidity and mortality.