The world’s largest search engine – Google – is popular for making drastic changes to make its site better for its users. Recently, the search engine has attempted to help users who are probably thinking of committing suicide. How? Now every time a person searches for “suicide” or anything related to suicide, Google will show a phone number that the user can call to get counseling. The number will be shown beside a red phone icon. This number is a toll-free one and connects the user to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
The word “suicide” or its other form must be present in the search query; for instance, both “suicidal thoughts” and “ways to commit suicide” will result in Google showing the phone number. Google has confirmed that the number will be put above than other results; the number will also be more visible than advertisement content. In this way, the search engine aims to prevent suicide in the country.
Google has conceived the idea for some time now; however, the idea was materialized only recently – on March 31. The main person responsible with this move is Dr. Roni Zeiger, who is the company’s chief health strategist. However, Dr. Zeiger admitted that the idea was not his; instead, it came from a similar action of the search engine to show a phone number (of the national poison control hotline) every time a person searched for “poison emergency”. This idea, in turn, was formed by a user of Google.
However, nobody is certain on how effective the change is going to be. The uncertainty may be attributed to the limited ability of a search engine to know about the true intentions of the user. For instance, the search query must contain the word “suicide” or other forms of the same word.
The service is only limited to United States at this moment.