With the COVID-19 virus spreading across the globe, the organizers cancelled the Google I/O 2020 event. Before this, the Mobile World Congress 2020 was cancelled due to the same reason. The virus has been spreading at a fast pace and has disrupted a lot. However, if you want some coronavirus related apps on the Google Play Store, you will not find any. Yes, that’s right. Search results for both “COVID19” and “coronavirus” started returning zero results. You can easily check this yourself by using the Play Store on your Android phone or by making your way to the web-based version.
One thing that’s quite interesting is the fact that results still show up for search term “COVID19” with eBooks, audiobooks, and music results appearing. So far, Google has not made any announcement regarding this. Users came across this issue when they tried to get some information on the Play Store. While some have reached out to Google to understand why is this, the company is yet to respond.
It seems quite likely that Google is intentionally preventing malevolent apps and games from trying to exploit on coronavirus fears by presenting misinformation and wrong facts. In the same vein, Amazon recently removed about a million products from its online shelves that claimed to treat COVID-19. This is because there is no vaccine or cure available.
Till Google releases a statement or has a discussion about the same, theories are flying around on why Covid19-related search queries seem blocked on the Play Store. If it is a measure to curb the spread of misinformation, it is an excellent move and one that should be appreciated.