Nextdoor, the social networking application designed around local communities, throw a new interactive map to allow neighbors to help each other during the new coronavirus epidemic. Called Help Map, the tool allows you to mark yourself as available to help you with everything from grocery shopping to babysitting. It will be available in the United States from today and will hit international markets later this week. The company also says it will roll out its beta functionality globally to allow neighbors to organize during the crisis.
Once you’ve added yourself to the help card, your name, home, and profile photo will be posted in your local community, and you can list ways you can help your neighbors. Members will then be able to send you a message on the platform if they need help. This is an interesting feature for the social network to include, especially since different groups are at very different risk levels from the virus.
Anyone who offers help to at-risk neighbors should, however, make sure to follow the advice of health authorities like the WHO or CDC. Make sure to wash your hands regularly and maintain a personal separation of six feet to minimize the risk to your community. If you have had flu-like symptoms, the most useful thing you can do for your at-risk neighbors is to isolate oneself, rather than risking spreading your infection.
Meanwhile, the new Social Networking Groups feature is also coming out of beta. Groups have been part of Nextdoor for some time, but the new version allows you to create groups with more distant people, rather than limiting yourself to your immediate neighbors. Nextdoor says it has seen more groups created recently as people face the realities of social distancing. The company gives the example of people creating groups to manage child care during school closings related to coronavirus, or using hobbies like cooking to spend the hours spent at home. The service plans to encourage the creation of groups by inviting users to create them from active conversation threads.
Nextdoor is one of the many tech companies helping people cope with the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Google, for example, plans to launch a new website to provide information on the epidemic later this week, while Microsoft’s Bing team has created an interactive map to track the number of cases worldwide. Elsewhere, film studios like Disney and Universal images are in the process of modifying their release schedules to make their films available for streaming at the start of the pandemic.