Google Blocks All Mention of Coronavirus and COVID-19 From the Play Store

  • Google has now blocked any mention of terms like “Coronavirus”, “COVID-19”, and “Corona”.
  • This comes as Google also pulled the plug on the annual I/O developer conference scheduled to be held in California in May.
  • Coronavirus has affected over 80,000 people so far and killed nearly 3,000 people, mostly concentrated in China and South Korea.

Given how misinformation regarding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 is spreading pretty rapidly on the internet, Google has decided to take a big step by blocking all mention of Coronavirus or COVID-19 on the Play Store. While Google has been mindful to block terms like Coronavirus, COVID-19, and Corona, it seems like users can still find search results by searching for “Covid19”, reports Android Police.

What’s surprising about all this is that the web version of the Play Store still shows results for music, audiobooks, and so on when typing in terms like Coronavirus or covid-19.

Over the past few days, Google has tried its best to curb misinformation on its search engine and it’s only fair that the same rule is applied to the Play Store, given that a lot of people may still fall prey to misinformation. Previously, the Play Store had innumerable apps and games pertaining to COVID-19. While most of them were inappropriate, the Play Store also had legitimate apps trying to help users.

But since Google has blocked pretty much any mention of the aforementioned terms, it’s hard to find anything related to the Coronavirus right now. Google is expected to whitelist some apps that are deemed to be necessary, like “Coronavirus SUS” which is the Brazilian Government’s app to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

Fearing the spread of the virus, Google announced yesterday that it is canceling its annual I/O event which was scheduled for May 2020. However, Google plans to make alternate arrangements, like a live stream, for example.

Via: Android Police