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This article was published on November 11, 2010

Google extends special search initiative to Australia

Google extends special search initiative to Australia
Corina Mackay
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Corina Mackay

Corina is studying Media Communications in rain-drenched Melbourne, and working towards the coveted title of Australia's "it girl" in Social Corina is studying Media Communications in rain-drenched Melbourne, and working towards the coveted title of Australia's "it girl" in Social Media. She is full of passion for technology, performing arts, and sport. Her pipe dream is to be a hippie. Contact her on Twitter.

Update: Google has officially confirmed the special search feature is rolling out in 13 countries including Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, and the UK.

Starting from today, Google Australia has tweaked search results for terms relating to poisoning and suicide. Above search results, users will now see a red phone icon and a phone number for the Australian Poisons Hotline or Lifeline 24 hour Counselling Services.

Originating in the U.S. last year, Google’s Roni Zeiger created the special search after being contacted by a mother who had trouble finding a poison control hotline on google.com. Feedback from colleagues led to the introduction of a special search result for suicide search terms as well.

Australian partners Lifeline and the Poisons Information Centre reportedly welcomed the idea, saying it would “quite literally, help us save more lives”.

Zeiger commented:

“People come to Google to search for information. Particularly in times of crisis, it’s especially important for them to find the crucial information they’re looking for, and find it fast, and these special search results can save precious moments.”

Unfortunately, the search terms may need some work. Upon testing today, terms like poisoning, poisoncentre, and poison info line did show the prominent phone icon and hotline number. However, terms like poisoninfo, poisoned, and poisonhelp did not trigger the special search results. Similarly, a search for suicide or suicidehelp returned the Lifeline phone number, but suicideprevention, suicidemethods, and preventingsuicide did not.

We are currently waiting for comment from Google regarding the specifics of the search terms.