10/11/2009

Microsoft Launches Online H1N1 Flu Response Center

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

With the current H1N1 flu (swine flu) pandemic under way, many public health officials are concerned that critical healthcare resources could be stretched thin as people flood hospital emergency departments and physicians’ offices to determine whether they have the illness. In response, Microsoft Corp. announced a new Web site, H1N1 Response Center (http://www.h1n1responsecenter.com), which provides users with timely and relevant content and enables consumers to gauge symptoms and receive guidance using an H1N1 self-assessment service.

“If current estimates are correct, many emergency departments across the nation could be overwhelmed by two groups of patients — those who have H1N1 and those who believe they have H1N1,” said Angela Gardner, M.D., FACEP, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “It is going to be essential that we use every tool and service at our disposal to contain this illness, and online H1N1 self-assessment tools, such as the one offered by Microsoft, can be helpful in providing people with ways to determine whether they should seek emergency care.”

Designed to help people decide what to do if they are worried that they or someone they know might have H1N1, the site offers consumers a self-assessment licensed from medical and public health experts at Emory University. The service assists people in deciding whether their symptoms could be caused by the H1N1 flu virus and provides guidance on what they can do next.

Street View on Google Maps comes to Canada

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Google has expanded its popular Street View on Google Maps service to include imagery from eleven cities across Canada, including Vancouver and Whistler. With the 2010 Winter Games coming in February, Street View on Google Maps will enable people within Canada and worldwide to explore the host city and Olympic venues, from B.C. Place Stadium to Whistler Village, and other regions and landmarks across Canada.

Using Street View on Google Maps, a free feature, people can virtually explore and navigate neighbourhoods through panoramic street-level images. The tool first launched in May 2007 and is hugely popular worldwide; in 2009 alone, Canadians have viewed more than 150 million Street View images of other countries. Imagery is now available for 13 countries in addition to Canada: Australia, the Czech Republic, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK and the U.S. It is also available on Google Maps for Mobile.

The Canadian cities and regions currently explorable via Street View on Google Maps are: Vancouver, Whistler, Squamish, Banff, Calgary, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. Additional cities and regions throughout the country will be added soon.

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