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Google Adds Refugee Resources for Ukrainian Asylum Seekers

Google is also upping its account security protections and removing misinformation, and it says Google Pay "may become unavailable in certain countries."

Corinne Reichert Senior Writer
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently oversees the CNET breaking news desk for the West Coast. Corinne covers everything from phones, social media and security to movies, politics, 5G and pop culture. In her spare time, she watches soccer games, F1 races and Disney movies.
Expertise News
Corinne Reichert
2 min read

A demonstration against Russia's invasion of Ukraine in Brussels, Belgium, on Feb. 26.

Omar Havana/Getty Images

Google Maps has added an SOS alert on Search across Ukraine, as well as temporarily disabling some live Google Maps features in the wake of Russia's invasion. The SOS alert will point people searching for evacuation information to UN resources for refugees and asylum seekers, Google said in a blog post Tuesday.

"The Russian invasion of Ukraine is both a tragedy and a humanitarian disaster in the making," Google said. "We're working with expert organizations to source helpful humanitarian information as the situation unfolds."

Read more: Around 660,000 Refugees Have Fled Ukraine. Here's How to Help

Google is also focusing its security teams on blocking suspicious activity related to the invasion, and is increasing its Google account security protections, particularly for authentication, in the region.

"Our Threat Analysis Group (TAG) has seen threat actors refocus their efforts on Ukrainian targets," Google said. "We've seen the attackers behind the GhostWriter threat group targeting Ukrainian government and military officials. We blocked these attempts and have not seen any compromise of Google accounts as a result of this campaign."

Google said its Project Shield is protecting more than 100 Ukrainian websites, including local news services.

On preventing the spread of misinformation online, Google has blocked Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik on YouTube across Europe. It's also limiting recommendations globally for Russian state-funded media outlets, with YouTube removing thousands of videos for violating community guidelines over the last few days.

Google Pay "may become unavailable"

As Search, Maps and YouTube remain available in Russia, Google Pay "may become unavailable in certain countries," Google added. "We are committed to complying with all sanctions requirements and we continue to monitor the latest guidance." 

Google and its employees are additionally contributing $15 million in donations and support to relief efforts in Ukraine, as well as $5 million in advertising credits for humanitarian and intergovernmental organizations.

Read more: Russia Invades Ukraine: Latest Updates as Ukrainian President Pleads to Join EU