Tag Archives: COVID-19

More support for the COVID-19 crisis in Latin America

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America especially hard. Even as vaccines begin to slowly become available around the region, infection and death rates remain alarmingly high and several countries are grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis.

As the situation has taken a turn for the worse, we at Google have asked ourselves what more we can do as a company to help COVID-19 relief efforts throughout Latin America. Whether it’s ensuring that people get the reliable information they need to keep their families healthy and safe, or providing financial support for the hardest-hit communities, we know there is always more we can do.

Today we're announcing that Google is providing $33 million in new funding for Latin America, including $3 million in grants from Google.org, our philanthropic arm. The first is a $1.5 million grant for UNICEF, to support the urgent needs in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru  for more than 580,000 people through health, nutrition and water, hygiene and sanitation programs. The second is a $1 million grant for Amigos do Bem in Brazil to help get food supplies and clean drinking water to more than 8,500 families in need. In addition, we're distributing $500,000 among other nonprofits across Latin America to get aid to communities in need. 

Today's announcement also includes increased Ad Grants support for public health information campaigns in Latin America. We’re making available an additional $30 million in Ad Grants to the Pan American Health Organization through the WHO, local health authorities and nonprofits to help spread accurate and useful information on vaccines and how to stay safe.

This support builds on over $6 million in Google.org grants for education, economic recovery and relief efforts across Latin America since the pandemic began, including a recent $1 million grant for Gerando Falcões in Brazil to provide families in need with food supplies. More than 1,000 Googlers have also contributed over $380,000 in donations and company match to support the Gerando Falcões initiative. 

We know that one of the biggest ways we can help is through our core information products like Search, Maps and YouTube. Our COVID-19 information panels on Search and YouTube are available throughout Latin America in Spanish and Portuguese, providing reliable and timely content for our users. We also recently announced vaccination sites in Search and Maps in Brazil, Chile and Mexico, and we're working to do the same in other countries in the region as well.

On YouTube, we're taking steps to raise up authoritative information and reduce coronavirus misinformation, while also teaming up with creators and health experts to clarify facts and dispel myths about COVID-19. And throughout the pandemic Google for Education has provided online education solutions to some 37 million monthly active teachers and students in Latin America.

Google will continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give everyone the tools they need to stay healthy and safe, and fight for a better tomorrow. We’re inspired by these organizations on the front lines, and are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to their efforts.

An update on our COVID response priorities

 Our teams at Google continue to support the tireless work of hospitals, nonprofits, and public health service providers across the country. Right now, we’re focused on three priority areas: ensuring people can access the latest and most authoritative information; amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages; and providing financial backing for affected communities, health authorities and other organizations.

Providing critical and authoritative information

On all our platforms, we’re taking steps to surface the critical information families and communities need to care for their own health and look after others.

Searches on the COVID-19 vaccine display key information around side effects, effectiveness, and registration details, while treatment-related queries surface guidance from ministry resources

When people ask questions about vaccines on Google Search, they see information panels that display the latest updates on vaccine safety, efficacy and side-effects, plus registration information that directs users to the Co-WIN website. You will also find information about prevention, self-care, and treatment under the Prevention and Treatment tab, in easy-to-understand language sourced from authorised medical sources and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

On YouTube we’re surfacing authoritative information in a set of playlists, about vaccines, preventing the spread of COVID-19, and facts from experts on COVID-19 care.

Our YouTube India channel features a set of playlists to share tips and information on COVID-19 care 

Testing and vaccination center locations

In addition to showing 2,500 testing centers on Search and Maps, we’re now sharing the locations of over 23,000 vaccination centers nationwide, in English and eight Indian languages. And we’re continuing to work closely with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to make more vaccination center information available to users throughout India.

Searching for vaccines in Maps and Search now shows over 23,000 vaccination centers across the country, in English and eight Indian languages

Pilot on hospital beds and medical oxygen availability

We know that some of the most crucial information people are searching for is the availability of hospital beds and access to medical oxygen. To help them find answers more easily, we’re testing a new feature using the Q&A function in Maps that enables people to ask about and share local information on availability of beds and medical oxygen in select locations. As this will be user generated content and not provided by authorised sources, it may be required to verify the accuracy and freshness of the information before utilizing it.

Amplifying vital safety and vaccination messages

As well as providing authoritative answers to queries, we’re using our channels to help extend the reach of health information campaigns. That includes the ‘Get the Facts’ around vaccines campaign, to encourage people to focus on authoritative information and content for vaccines. We’re also surfacing important safety messages through promotions on the Google homepage, Doodles and reminders within our apps and services.

Via the Google Search homepage and reminders within our apps and services, we are reminding people to stay safe and stay masked, and get authoritative information on vaccines

Supporting health authorities, organizations, and affected communities

Since the second wave began, we’ve been running an internal donation campaign to raise funds for nonprofit organizations helping those most in need, including GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation India, GOONJ, and United Way of Mumbai. This campaign has raised over $4.6 million (INR 33 crore) to date, and continues to generate much-needed support for relief efforts. 

We recognize that many more nonprofits need donations, and that Indians are eager to help where they can—so we’ve rolled out a COVID Aid campaign on Google Pay, featuring non-profit organizations like GiveIndia, Charities Aid Foundation, Goonj, Save the Children, Seeds, UNICEF India  (National NGOs) and United Way. We want to thank all our Google Pay users who have contributed to these organisations, and we hope this effort will make a difference where it matters most. 

On Google Pay people can contribute funds to non-profit organizations involved in COVID response

As India battles this devastating wave, we’ll keep doing all we can to support the selfless individuals and committed organizations on the front lines of the response. There’s a long way to go—but standing together in solidarity, working together with determination, we can and will turn the tide.  

Posted by the Covid Response team, Google India


Supporting India during the current COVID crisis

Right now India is going through our most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far. Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients. 


Our Google community and their families are feeling the devastating impact, too. We’re asking ourselves what more we can do as a company to ensure people get the information and support they need to keep their families and communities healthy and safe.


Today we’re announcing 135 Crore INR ($18 million USD) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totalling 20 Crore INR ($2.6 million USD). The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEFto help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India. It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed 3.7 Crore INR ($500,000 USD) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities. 


This funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. Since last year, we’ve helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We’re increasing our support today with an additional 112 Crore INR ($15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options.

Three phones displaying COVID-19 information in Search in three different languages

COVID-19 vaccine information on Search is available in English and eight Indian languages

We know the biggest way we can help is through our core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube and Ads. Our COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, and we continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information. That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We’re also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives. 


On YouTube, we are supporting the government in their vaccine communication strategy, as well as working to raise up authoritative information and reduce misinformation. We recently ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information. And we’ve added support for public donations for several nongovernmental organizations on Google Pay.


I am hopeful that the situation will turn around for our country soon, but as we have learned over the course of this pandemic, hope is not enough. At Google we’ll continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give people the tools to stay healthy and safe. We’ll get through this tough time together.

Supporting India during the current COVID crisis

Right now India is going through our most difficult moment in the pandemic thus far. Daily COVID-19 cases continue to set record highs, with hospitals filled to capacity and in need of urgent supplies to cope with the increasing number of patients. 


Our Google community and their families are feeling the devastating impact, too. We’re asking ourselves what more we can do as a company to ensure people get the information and support they need to keep their families and communities healthy and safe.


Today we’re announcing 135 Crore INR ($18 million USD) in new funding for India. This includes two grants from Google.org, Google’s philanthropic arm, totalling 20 Crore INR ($2.6 million USD). The first is to GiveIndia to provide cash assistance to families hit hardest by the crisis to help with their everyday expenses. The second will go to UNICEF to help get urgent medical supplies, including oxygen and testing equipment, to where it’s needed most in India. It also includes donations from our ongoing employee giving campaign — so far more than 900 Googlers have contributed 3.7 Crore INR ($500,000 USD) for organizations supporting high-risk and marginalized communities. 


This funding also includes increased Ad Grant support for public health information campaigns. Since last year, we’ve helped MyGov and the World Health Organization reach audiences with messages focused on how to stay safe and facts about vaccines. We’re increasing our support today with an additional 112 Crore INR ($15 million) in Ad Grants to local health authorities and nonprofits for more language coverage options.



COVID-19 vaccine information on Search is available in English and eight Indian languages


We know the biggest way we can help is through our core information products like Search and Maps, YouTube and Ads. Our COVID features on Search are available in India, in English and eight Indian languages, and we continue to improve localization and highlight authoritative information. That includes information on where to get testing and vaccines; so far, Maps and Search surface thousands of vaccine sites, and we are working to add tens of thousands more. We’re also collaborating closely with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, and with organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to support vaccine awareness initiatives. 


On YouTube, we are supporting the government in their vaccine communication strategy, as well as working to raise up authoritative information and reduce misinformation. We recently ran a workshop for 200+ health officials to learn how they can use YouTube to reach audiences across Indian languages with vaccine information. And we’ve added support for public donations for several non-governmental organizations on Google Pay.


I am hopeful that the situation will turn around for our country soon, but as we have learned over the course of this pandemic, hope is not enough. At Google we’ll continue to work with local governments, partners and communities to give people the tools to stay healthy and safe. We’ll get through this tough time together. 


Posted by Sanjay Gupta, Country Head & Vice President, India

Spot misinformation online with these tips

The COVID-19 pandemic. Elections around the world. Fact-checkers worldwide have had a busy year. More than 50,000 new fact checks surfaced on Google Search over the past year, with all fact checks receiving more than 2.4 billion impressions in Search in that timeframe. 


A growing body of external research suggests that fact checks can help counter falsehoods. In a new report supported by the Google News Initiative published today, researchers Ethan Porter, Thomas Wood and Yamil Velez found that corrections in the form of fact checks reduce the effects of misinformation on beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccine.


Fact-checking isn’t just for the professionals, however. Every day, people seek evidence to confirm or refute a piece of information they’re uncertain about. Over the past 12 months, Google searches in India for “is it true that...” were higher than “how to make coffee,” and that’s saying something given last year’s Dalgona craze


We're committed to supporting all users as they look for reliable information online, and sharing our insights with other organizations to strengthen fact checking.


With that in mind, and ahead of International Fact Checking Day on April 2, here are five simple tips to help you ask the right questions so you can better spot misinformation online. 


  1. Check if an image is being used in the right context.


A picture is worth 1000 words, as the old adage goes. But a picture can also be taken out of context or edited to mislead. You can search with an image by right clicking on a photo and selecting “Search Google for Image.” You can do the same on mobile by touching and holding the image. This will look for the picture to check if it has appeared online before, and in what context, so you can see if it has been altered from its original meaning.


See how an image is being used in context online. You can search with an image by right clicking on a photo and selecting “Search Google for Image.” This is a simulated example to illustrate how this product works and not the actual experience. 



  1. Look for news coverage.


What’s better than one source? Several! See how (and whether) different news outlets have reported on the same event so that you can get the full picture. Switch to news mode or search for a topic in news.google.com. Make sure to click through to “Full Coverage” if the option is available.


Looking for news on if Earth was visited by aliens? In this simulated example you can see how you can click to find Full Coverage on a topic, and see what other news orgs are covering it.  This GIF is a simulated example and is not the full experience of how the product works


  1. Consult the fact-checkers.


Fact-checkers may have addressed that random story your relative sent you in the group chat – or a similar one that will point you in the right direction to find out what really happened. Try searching for the topic in the Fact Check Explorer, which collects more than 100,000 fact checks from reputable publishers around the world. 


In this simulated example see how you can use Fact Check Explorer to find out if an online claim has been fact checked. This is a demonstration of how the product works and not the full experience.  


  1. Use Google Maps or Earth to verify the location.


False stories about events happening in far-off places can spread due to our lack of familiarity with their location. If you want to get a sense of whether a photo is actually from the place it claims to be from, try checking Google Earth or look at the Street View of a location on Google Maps in regions where it is available.


Say your friend sends you a story about Bigfoot strolling by the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. Searching for the Eiffel Tower on Street View will at the very least confirm that the tower doesn’t have a big red cowboy hat at the top (like it does in Paris, Texas). If that part doesn’t check out, the rest of the story might be fishy, too.



In this simulated example, you can see how you can find the differences between the real Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and the one in Paris, Texas. This is just a demonstration and not the full product experience. 


We’re committed to helping people spot misinformation online and supporting the fact-checking ecosystem. 

Most recently, we provided $3 million to journalistic efforts fact-checking misinformation about the COVID-19 immunization process. We're supporting a broad collaborative project led by The Quint in India that will seek to source hyper-local misinformation and distribute fact checks through a grassroots network of rural women. 

We will also be launching the first GNI University Verification Challenge across Asia and in India to boost awareness and knowledge among journalism students.

Through our philanthropic arm, we've been supporting Interviews and Dataleads with their FactShala program. Through this training program, 253 journalists, fact-checkers, media educators, non-profit workers and community radio representatives have come together as trainers to educate more than 23,000 people across the country leading over 540 virtual and in-person workshops in at least 15 languages. FactShala has also collaborated with more than 200 radio stations reaching approximately 1.3 million people across 8,400 villages.

For more tips and best practices, check out the resources put together by the International Fact-Checking Network at factcheckingday.com. And if you’re a journalist, check out the GNI Training Center.


Posted by Alexios Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead

Helping people find credible information as India gets into vaccination overdrive

Even as our country gradually returns to regular work and life, COVID-19 continues to be a reality for many. The commencement of vaccinations is a source of hope, especially with the second phase now underway, potentially targeting 100  million people who can benefit from it.

As the government continues to manage the logistics of the vaccine roll out -- one of the largest in the world -- it has taken proactive steps to provide timely, accurate, and science-based information about the vaccines to the public. This is crucial because instances of misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine,  its need, and it’s efficacy can seriously undermine this public health intervention.

As the government activates the processes involved in implementing these large-scale vaccinations, our teams have been hard at work to surface authoritative and timely information for people asking vaccine-related questions. We have worked with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) and the  Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to amplify this science-based narrative around vaccination drive, and have been working closely with the Rapid Risk Response team at the MoHFW that is tracking misinformation using social media listening tools across region and languages, and countering it with science-based messaging on vaccines and pandemic response overall. 

Shortly after the first phase of vaccinations commenced, to help people find credible information we rolled out knowledge panels in Google Search that show up for queries relating to the COVID vaccine. These panels provide consolidated information such as details on the two vaccines, effectiveness, safety, distribution, side effects, and more, and is available in English and eight Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and Hindi). This information is sourced from MoHFW, and provides answers to commonly asked questions, displays real-time statistics around vaccinations completed, and provides links to the MoHFW website for additional local resources.

Search queries on the COVID-19 vaccine display organized information on the subject including top news stories and resources from MoHFW on side effects, where to get it and more.

Our teams also supported the MoHFW in helping optimize their website for mobile viewers by improving the website’s page load times, enabling users to find information swiftly. We also helped localize their various vaccination resource pages into the eight Indian languages listed above.

On YouTube we launched information panels that show up when searching for COVID-related queries and also have a banner on the YouTube homepage, both of which redirect to key vaccine resources on the MoHFW website. We also featured FAQ videos from the MoHFW on the YouTube homepage.

With vaccinations for the vulnerable population having commenced from 1st March in thousands of hospitals across the country, we are also working with the MoHFW and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accurately surface the information on vaccination centers on Google Search, Maps and Google Assistant, and expect to roll this out in the coming weeks . 

To enable government officials as they make critical decisions during these vaccination rollouts, we also deliver regular Google Trends reports on COVID vaccine queries that reflect interest around the vaccination from month to month across regions.

As COVID-19 continues to challenge our communities, we remain committed to doing all we can to assist the country’s health agencies at this key juncture of the pandemic, where the successful rollout of these large-scale vaccinations can help us collectively turn a corner and see a much-needed return to normalcy.

Posted by the Google India team

How anonymized data helps fight against disease

Data has always been a vital tool in understanding and fighting disease — from Florence Nightingale’s 1800s hand drawn illustrations that showed how poor sanitation contributed to preventable diseases to the first open source repository of data developed in response to the 2014 Ebola crisis in West Africa. When the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan, data again became one of the most critical tools to combat the pandemic. 

A group of researchers, who documented the initial outbreak, quickly joined forces and started collecting data that could help epidemiologists around the world model the trajectory of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The researchers came from University of Oxford, Tsinghua University, Northeastern University and Boston Children’s Hospital, among others. 

However, their initial workflow was not designed for the exponential rise in cases. The researchers turned to Google.org for help. As part of Google’s $100 million contribution to COVID relief, Google.org granted $1.25 million in funding and provided a team of 10 fulltime Google.org Fellows and 7 part-time Google volunteers to assist with the project.  

Google volunteers worked with the researchers to create Global.health, a scalable and open-access platform that pulls together millions of anonymized COVID-19 cases from over 100 countries. This platform helps epidemiologists around the world model the trajectory of COVID-19, and track its variants and future infectious diseases. 

The need for trusted and anonymized case data

When an outbreak occurs, timely access to organized, trustworthy and anonymized data is critical for public health leaders to inform early policy decisions, medical interventions, and allocations of resources — all of which can slow disease spread and save lives. The insights derived from “line-list” data (e.g. anonymized case level information), as opposed to aggregated data such as case counts, are essential for epidemiologists to perform more detailed statistical analyses and model the effectiveness of interventions. 

Volunteers at the University of Oxford started manually curating this data, but it was spread over hundreds of websites, in dozens of formats, in multiple languages. The HealthMap team at Boston Children’s Hospital also identified early reports of COVID-19 through automated indexing of news sites and official sources. These two teams joined forces, shared the data, and published peer-reviewed findings to create a trusted resource for the global community.

Enter the Google.org Fellowship

To help the global community of researchers in this meaningful endeavour, Google.org decided to offer the support of 10 Google.org Fellows who spent 6 months working full-time on Global.health, in addition to $1.25M in grant funding. Working hand in hand with the University of Oxford and Boston Children’s Hospital, the Google.org team spoke to researchers and public health officials working on the frontline to understand real-life challenges they faced when finding and using high-quality trusted data — a tedious and manual process that often takes hours. 

Upholding data privacy is key to the platform’s design. The anonymized data used at Global.health comes from open-access authoritative public health sources, and a panel of data experts rigorously checks it to make sure it meets strict anonymity requirements. The Google.org Fellows assisted the Global.health team to design the data ingestion flow to implement best practices for data verification and quality checks to make sure that no personal data made its way into the platform. (All line-list data added to the platform is stored and hosted in Boston Children’s Hospital’s secure data infrastructure, not Google’s.)

Looking to the future

With the support of Google.org and The Rockefeller Foundation, Global.health has grown into an international consortium of researchers at leading universities curating the most comprehensive line-list COVID-19 database in the world.  It includes millions of anonymized records from trusted sources spanning over 100 countries, including India.

Today, Global.health helps researchers across the globe access data in a matter of minutes and a series of clicks. The flexibility of the Global.health platform means that it can be adapted to any infectious disease data and local context as new outbreaks occur. Global.health lays a foundation for researchers and public health officials to access this data no matter their location, be it New York, São Paulo, Munich, Kyoto or Nairobi.

Posted by Stephen Ratcliffe, Google.org Fellow and the Global.health team

An open fund for projects debunking vaccine misinformation

The uncertainty and developing nature of the coronavirus pandemic continues to generate related misinformation. Fact-checkers have been hard at work debunking falsehoods online, with nearly 10,000 fact checks about the pandemic currently showing up across our products. 


The global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is exacerbating a perennial problem of misinformation about immunization. To support additional debunking efforts, the Google News Initiative is launching a COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund worth up to $3 million.


While the COVID-19 infodemic has been global in nature, misinformation has also been used to target specific populations. Some of the available research also suggests that the audiences coming across misinformation and those seeking fact checks don’t necessarily overlap.


For this reason, the Open Fund is accepting applications from projects that aim to broaden the audience of fact checks, particularly with those who may be disproportionately affected by misinformation in mind.


The fund is global and open to news organizations of every size that have a proven track record in fact-checking and debunking activities, or partner with an organization with such recognition. 


We will prioritize collaborative projects with an interdisciplinary team and clear ways to measure success. For example, eligible applications might include a partnership between an established fact-checking project and a media outlet with deep roots in a specific community, or a collaborative technology platform for journalists and doctors to jointly source misinformation and publish fact checks.


A global team of Googlers will review applications. The jury that will choose grantees is composed by the following:

  • Theresa Amobi, Senior Lecturer, University of Lagos

  • Ludovic Blecher, Head of Innovation, Google News Initiative

  • Renee DiResta, Technical Research Manager, Stanford Internet Observer

  • Susannah Eliott, CEO, Australian Science Media Centre

  • Gagandeep Kang, Head of the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory, Christian Medical College

  • Alexios Mantzarlis, News and Information Credibility Lead, Google

  • Syed Nazakat, Founder & CEO, Data Leads

  • Ifeoma Ozoma, Founder and Principal, Earthseed

  • Baybars Örsek, Director, International Fact-Checking Network

  • Andy Pattison, manager of digital solutions, World Health Organization

  • Angela Pimenta, Director of Operations, Projor

  • Amy Pisani, Executive Director, Vaccinate Your Family

  • Yamil Velez, Associate Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

  • Brian Yau, Promotion & Engagement Lead, Vaccine Safety Net at WHO

The Open Fund builds on support the GNI has provided to news efforts fighting pandemic misinformation in April and December of last year. We expect that selected projects will benefit from research the GNI is supporting into the formats, headlines and sources that are most effective in correcting COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. 


Finally, we continue to make high quality, authoritative information about vaccines available in our products. We are continuing to expand the number of countries with information panels on authorized vaccines in Google Search, and we continue to surface fact checks across Google by using ClaimReview. We expanded the features in which users come across fact checks in 2020—in the COVID-19 Google News topic in the U.S., on Google News on mobile in Brazil and in Google Images globally.


Please visit the Open Fund’s website to read more about eligibility criteria and find out how to apply.

Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,
We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.
From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 
It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 


Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you're enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for "I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent's permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)


Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.


Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.


Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life


Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.


Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,
We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.
From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 
It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 


Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you're enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for "I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent's permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)


Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.


Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.


Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life


Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.