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    Facebook, Google And Microsoft Developing Data Tools To Track Social Distancing

    Facebook Developing Data Tools To Track Social Distancing

    Tech Companies, including Google and Microsoft, are also working on tools for public health research.

    Facebook team is working on tools for pubic health researchers to help social distancing, which is like to stop the spread of coronavirus are being followed.

    Google Already Launched, and Microsoft is Working.


    Last week, Google launched tools to track people's movement for social distancing.

    To see how the community is moving around differently due to COVID-19.

    In Google Maps, we use aggregated, anonymized data showing how busy certain types of places are helping identify when a local business tends to be the most crowded. We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19, said Google.

    The reports use aggregated, anonymized data to chart movement trends over time by geography, across different high-level categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. We’ll show trends over several weeks, with the most recent information representing 48-to-72 hours prior.

    While we display a percentage point increase or decrease in visits, we do not share the absolute number of visits. To protect people’s privacy, no personally identifiable information, like an individual’s location, contacts or movement, is made available at any point.

    As global communities respond to COVID-19, we've heard from public health officials that the same type of aggregated, anonymized insights we use in products such as Google Maps could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.

    These Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.

    Whereas Microsoft is designing chatbots and other resources tools for public health, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Facebook is expecting to launch the tool this week in U.S


    "We think that Facebook and the wider tech industry can continue to find innovative ways to help respond to that crisis," said a company spokesperson.

    Mark Zuckerberg said in the statement,

    "As we work with health officials to fight Covid-19, one way Facebook can uniquely help is by providing aggregate insights from our community on where and how the outbreak is spreading.
    Starting today, we're going to begin showing an opt-in symptom survey run by health researchers at Carnegie Mellon University asking whether you're experiencing any of the symptoms associated with Covid-19. By answering the survey, you can contribute to the Covid-19 research effort even if you're healthy. (Your replies will not be accessible to us, and this survey is not a replacement for contacting a doctor if you need medical attention.)

    Since experiencing symptoms is often a precursor to going to the hospital or getting more seriously ill, if this works, it can produce a weekly map that may help more accurately forecast how many cases hospitals will see in the days ahead, as well as an early indicator of where the outbreak is growing and where the curve is being successfully flattened.

    Researchers and health officials think the data from these surveys can help determine where to allocate health resources like ventilators, where to tighten lockdown orders, and eventually which counties can safely start opening back up again.

    We're starting to roll this out in the US this week, and if the results are promising then we will quickly expand this globally in the days ahead.

    In addition to this symptom survey, today we're also releasing several new Disease Prevention Maps from our Data for Good program that show in aggregate where people are traveling and interacting between regions. This data may help experts forecast which places may have outbreaks in the days to come.

    A critical part of the Data for Good program is we've developed partnerships with academic researchers that enable us to produce these aggregate reports while protecting everyone's privacy and individual data. As governments seek to use data in new ways to get ahead of this outbreak, it is important that we maintain our privacy principles and have clear policies for these kinds of use. We'll share more on this soon as well. "

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