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Google has removed search results for 'coronavirus' or 'COVID-19' from its Play Store app (Reuters)
Google has removed search results for 'coronavirus' or 'COVID-19' from its Play Store app (Reuters)

Google Play store hides search results for coronavirus, Covid-19

  • If any user searches for these specified terms, he or she would end up with with a 'no results found' message
  • Google's move to curb misinformation and fake news spread is a positive move but not the most pragmatic one

With more than 94,000 cases of the novel coronavirus being detected, rumours about the disease are spreading like wildfire on various social media platforms. And to calm the panic that is increasing all across the world, these speculative information need to be curbed immediately.

In order to mitigate the spreading of fake news and misinformation about the virus, Google has removed search results for 'coronavirus' or 'COVID-19' from its Play Store app on Android phones and play.google.com on website. First spotted by 9to5 Google, the report stated that if any user searched for these specified terms, he or she would end up with with a message, "no results found" for both Android apps and games. Similar terms — like those appending “tracker" or “map" — also do not work. However, the report also stated that Movie, TV show, and book searched seemed to being functioning normally.

However, there is a small catch. According to the 9to5 Google report, If you search for information related to coronavirus, you will be able to find results for your searched if the terms are not specific. In other words, terms such as COVID19 without the hyphen, will suggest some results still.

Google's move to curb misinformation and fake news spread is a positive mood but not the most pragmatic one. The Play Store does carry a number of official applications on news and insights on the virus and how to protect oneself from it, and the removal of all the apps will risk the authentic apps and information available on the Play Store.

Meanwhile, among the approximately 94,000 people detected, the vast majority of them are from China where the outbreak originated. More than 3,200 people have died, but 51,000 have recovered after being treated, as well. In India, currently, there are 30 positive cases detected.

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