Categories: Coronavirus

India Launches WhatsApp Chatbot

Tech companies are acting quickly to install updates and new programs to help people stay safe and informed as the coronavirus continues its worldwide spread.

Google, for instance, has updated its search engine for more specific details and resources regarding the virus. The search engine company has re-formatted its coronavirus-related results to give people the newest, most accurate information about the virus, its spread and more. A visual display shows a neat clickable bar of options like “symptoms,” “prevention,” “treatment” and “statistics” that people can navigate.

The tech giant is also listing national and local resources people can utilize to find out the latest updates specific to where they are.

In other news, Apple has programmed Siri to give users a list of questions to aid them if they inquire about potentially having the virus.

For example, if someone asks, “Hey Siri, how do I tell if I have the coronavirus?” then the robotic voice assistant will walk the user through a set of the symptoms: is the user in question feeling feverish? Do they have a dry cough or a shortness of breath?

Then, if the user has extreme or dire symptoms, Siri will advise them to call 911. If the symptoms are more mild, Siri will advise them to stay home, avoid being too close to other people and contact a doctor if the symptoms worsen. Siri also provides a link to the App Store, which has apps available for long-distance medical examinations if necessary.

And in India, popular social media app WhatsApp has engineered the “MyGov Corona Helpdesk” for all citizens to turn to for information and resources regarding the virus.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said citizens could contact the bot for questions such as how to tell if one is infected or what to do if one is experiencing symptoms.

The bot was crafted by Haptik Technologies, which is based in Mumbai and was acquired by telecom giant Reliance Jio last year. The Ministry of Health is providing the information. The intent of the bot is to combat misinformation and false rumors, and to bring a sense of calm amid the current chaotic state of things, the government said.

Other uses of modern technology have included the use of drones in California to help enforce the state’s lockdown status.

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The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.