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Google eases the damage of COVID-19

Services to inspire, entertain, educate and help businesses

The challenges of life in the COVID-19 pandemic have brought solid demand for Google services and have spawned new ways for the organization to help online users, according to the Head of Communications and Public Affairs at Google Thailand, Saiyai Sakawee.

As a basic response to the pandemic, people have turned to Google in search of information on the coronavirus responsible for the crisis, and on protection measures like face masks and hand-sanitizing gel. And in a business environment where many people are working from home, the teleconferencing service Google Meet has proven to be increasingly popular.

In April, as lockdowns spread around the world, the number of Google Meet users around the world jumped by three million.

“Now, we have made Google Meet available to people for free,” Saiyai said, pointing out that many other Google services are similarly cost-free.

Teleconferences on Google Meet are open only to people who are invited to take part. Organizers can block intruders. Moreover, the platform is highly secure: it has never been hacked. Among Google Meet’s many strengths is its integration of other Google services, such as Gmail and Google Calendar.

Google for schools

Schools are being encouraged to use Google Docs, Google Slides and Google Sheets to facilitate online classes. The solutions are being offered without cost, to help people when schools have ceased their face-to-face teaching, Saiyai said. Additionally, Google Classroom is a service that benefits both teachers and students, as it simplifies creating, distributing and grading assignments.

Google for virtual tours

Viewers in lockdown have found Google Arts and Culture a ready guide to virtual tours through many of the world’s museums or cultural attractions. The platform features content from more than 2,000 leading museums, and since last November, Thailand’s Front Palace has also been featured.

“We have collaborated with the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BAAC) to bring arts to our users,” Saiyai said.

Google’s YouTube

For lockdown viewing, YouTube has been a primary source of entertainment and inspiration for many. The platform launched a #WithMe campaign to encourage content that would make it easier for people to deal with #StayHome mode.

Creators of content have produced videos on cooking, exercising, and developing new skills, and all can be found on YouTube.

“The response has been quite good,” Saiyai commented.

Google for Thailand fights COVID-19

Google has now introduced Google for Thailand, a project that aims to overcome problems arising from COVID-19 in three main areas.

First, in collaboration with the Departments of Mental Health and Disease Control, Google for Thailand is presenting the most relevant information about COVID-19 on a single page.
“We have focused on giving accurate and useful information,” Saiyai explained. “When you search for COVID-19 on Google, you will get all of the information we have prepared.”

Second, Google has sought to serve those who have to stay at home. The Teach from Home platform has been created so that teachers can conveniently explore content to determine what is good for their classes. The platform has support materials for those who want to teach about cooking, exercising, or maintaining good mental health, to name just a few subjects.

Third, Google is offering Grow with Google tools for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that wish to shift to e-commerce.

“We have even prepared ad grants worth US$800 million in a bid to support non-governmental organizations and government agencies, as well as SMEs impacted by COVID-19 during these difficult times,” Saiyai said.

Google has also updated its Google My Business platform, so that restaurateurs can easily inform potential customers about food-delivery services and how they are complying with government measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

“We are fully prepared to support businesses and people in the online world,” Saiyai said.

“No matter what happens, Google’s vision is focused on giving useful information, and we are committed to developing products and services that make life easier for Thais.”



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