Apple has added new functionality to Siri which enables it to answer questions regarding coronavirus symptoms. The answers have been added in support with the United States Public Health Service as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as per the disclaimer shown by Siri.
To start the questionnaire, first spotted by CNBC, users have to ask Siri something along the lines of “Do I have coronavirus?”. Siri then hows the disclaimer and tells you that it will ask a series of yes/no questions to help determine if you need help. The answers check for symptoms like fever, dry cough, shortness of breath and contact with someone who is already infected by coronavirus. Users can answer yes, no or not sure to these questions.
Based on the answers, Siri advises on the next steps. If Siri concludes that the user’s situation is serious, it will tell the user to call 911 and seek immediate help. If the situation is not very serious, it suggests isolation and avoiding contact with other people to restrict the spread of the virus. It also lets users download an app from the App Store, to get help.
Apple has also posted a public service announcement which is the first thing users in the United States see when they open the App Store. The PSA video is also available on Apple's website. Users from other countries don't see any PSA in the App Store yet.
Wow! This when you open the Apple App Store.
— Demian Dellinger (@DemianCo) March 21, 2020
While Apple has updated its virtual assistant Siri with helpful features, Google Assistant reads text from search results and information from the World Health Organization, when asked about coronavirus. If will be good if Google also adds a similar questionnaire to Google Assistant, which would be extremely helpful to users.
For its part, Google has set up a COVID-19 resources website, after it was initially announced by the United States President Donald Trump. It has also enhanced its search results to provide quick access to resources, news, and relevant data on the spread of the virus.
Microsoft has also put in the effort to set up a COVID-19 tracking website at bing.com/covid, which shows details of the number of infected people around the globe, along with the latest news and updates. The company has also set up a conversational bot, similar to Siri’s questionnaire, for coronavirus assessment. As per Satya Nadella’s email to Microsoft employees, the company is supporting efforts by providing tools and assistance in the public, education, healthcare, and security sectors. Microsoft products like Office 365, Microsoft Teams, GitHub, and Power Platform, are being used across communities to help communicate and mobilize.