Google has marked National Recovery Month with a new platform called Recover Together, dedicated to supporting those with addiction, which in the US will sit in a prominent position below its search bar on the Google homepage. Core to the website is a Google Maps-integrated locator tool, which pinpoints thousands of relevant support services in communities across the US, which can be searched using an address or landmark location. This was developed with an external partner, the Recovery Resource Hub.
The website also features interview articles with recovering addicts, including one with a Google employee who now leads workplace programmes to support people in recovery; lists of external resources for treatment and prevention, including organisations around the country helping and researching the issues; and a glossary of terms used around addiction, with suggestions to how people might replace offensive words with more sensitive terminology.
The launch follows the Google Ads scandal of 2017, when a story on The Verge exposed the huge profits being garnered by the company from marketing unethical treatment centres that often put profits before actually helping people with their addiction. Following the story, Google temporarily suspended alcohol and drug treatment advertising for just under a year until it introduced a more stringent vetting process for such marketing. Reuters
states this cost Alphabet, Google’s parent company, around $78 million in ad sales in the US alone. Advertisers now need to be approved by LegitScript, an addiction treatment certification body, as addiction services providers before they can advertise through Google Ads.
Though the ads scandal did reach the UK, so far the programme is only launching in the US.