Thursday, November 11, 2010
(Cross-posted from the google.org blog)
We know that in times of crisis, it's especially important for you to find the crucial information you're looking for—and find it fast. Today, in 13 countries, we’ll begin displaying some combination of special search results for searches around poison control, suicide and common emergency numbers that point to emergency information.
This effort started last year when I received an email from a mother in the U.S. who had trouble finding the phone number for the poison control hotline after her daughter accidentally ingested something potentially poisonous (fortunately, her daughter was fine). As a result, people in the U.S. performing various searches including "poison control" began to see a special result displaying the national phone number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers last fall.
Soon after we added poison control information to search results, we heard from Googlers whose lives had been affected by suicide and who thought that suicide prevention could be another case for a special search result. In April we began prominently displaying the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of the results page for certain search queries in the U.S. Since then, our friends at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have reported a 9 percent increase in legitimate calls to its hotline.
So, following positive feedback from consumers and our hotline partners, we decided to expand the poison control and suicide prevention special search results beyond the U.S. Each of these 13 countries will see one or more of these results: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We looked for hotlines that are available nationally and 24/7 and we hope to add additional countries in the future.
We're also introducing a new special search result for common emergencies, such as fire, medical and police emergencies. We want to make this information easier to find for residents as well as travelers, especially as some countries have different numbers for different emergencies.
An emergency is stressful enough. We hope this small step helps connect people with the information they need immediately.