Google Pay: Google Pay launches ‘Nearby Spot’ to help users find local stores selling essentials


New Delhi: Google has launched ‘Nearby Spot’ under Google Pay using which users in Bengaluru can see local stores selling essentials like groceries that are open, amid the lockdown. The Nearby Spot will be launched in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi soon, Google India said in a blogpost.

“With the lockdown and social distancing norms in place, digital payments have become more important than ever and Google Pay is an additional surface to provide key information regarding COVID-19,” it added.

The company has launched the COVID-19 Spot on Google Pay that aggregates all pertinent information on the topic, sourced directly from the Health Ministry.

This Spot also helps users donate to PM-CARES Fund or to NGOs such as SEEDS, Give India, United Way and Charities Aid Foundation that are working towards procurement of protective equipment for medical workers and relief for lockdown-impacted daily wagers.

“Donations to PM-CARES on Google Pay have thus far collected over Rs 105 crore and continue to grow,” it noted.

Launched last year, the Spot platform allows a business to create a listing for the Google Pay app which, in turn, offers a customisable branded experience for that business.

The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted businesses and lives across the world. To contain the spread of the infection, the Indian government had announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown on March 24.

The death toll in India due to the pandemic rose to 308 on Monday after 35 new fatalities were reported, while the number of cases climbed to 9,152, according to the Union Health Ministry.

Google said it has taken a number of steps in India to help bring authoritative and reliable information to people, and provide features across its products that can be helpful during these trying times.

“We have upped our work to curb misinformation across various platforms and prominently surface the latest updates and health advice from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) and international health authorities across Search, Maps, YouTube and the COVID-19 Spot on Google Pay,” the blog said.

Across YouTube’s homepage, search, and recommendation systems, Google is elevating authoritative information sources such as the Health Ministry and WHO, driving users directly to these websites for trustworthy and reliable information. “YouTube has also launched a Coronavirus News Shelf on the YouTube Homepage, which provides the latest news from authoritative media outlets regarding the outbreak,” the blog noted.

In addition, Google is also removing reported videos that violate YouTube’s community guidelines, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or encourage the use of unsubstantiated remedies to treat COVID-19.

Google had last week launched the COVID-19 India website that collates updated information, as well as live statistics, into a single, easy-to-access resource. It is available in English, Hindi and Marathi for smartphones, and in English and Hindi via Google Assistant for KaiOS feature phones.

It will be rolled out soon in several other Indian languages, the blog said.

Besides, Google Maps, Search, and Google Assistant are also indicating the locations of hundreds of food and night shelters set up by the government across the country to help people, especially the millions of migrant workers returning to their hometowns, or stranded in the cities without a source of income or food.

Google said it has collaborated with the Health Ministry to run a public service campaign to promote information from Health Ministry, including educational video content featuring Amitabh Bachchan, across YouTube, Search and Google Assistant. SR SHW ANU ANU


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