Published: 23rd May 2021
How this 25-year-old created a search engine to find verified COVID resources on Twitter
Bengaluru-based software developer Umang Galaiya created covid19-twitter.in to remove the hassle of trawling Twitter for oxygen, beds
The second wave of COVID-19 can be characterised by a large number of deaths, queues outside crematoriums and graveyards and helpless pleas for resources like beds, oxygen, medicines and food. Several individuals and organisations have stepped forward to contribute to this fight against the virus. While some have volunteered directly, there are others who have amplified resources and connected them to those in need. Then, there are others who have facilitated this by leveraging technology. Among them is Bengaluru-based software developer Umang Galaiya, who created the website covid19-twitter.in, which has now managed to reach and help several lakhs of people get resources through Twitter.
Screenshot of the website
All one has to do is go to the website and type in the city name and select the resource they need. They can choose to deselect tweets that 'need' or 'require' those resources and only look at the verified leads to get the resources. "The website was developed over time. I had asked people on my Twitter timeline to post suggestions on how to improve it. The basic version could only sort through the city name and the word 'verified'. As people kept suggesting what to add, I kept adding the resource options like beds, ICU, oxygen, Remdesivir and so on," recalls Umang. While Umang may have managed to help lakhs of people, he didn't take a lot of time to actually build the website. "The first version took me around 10 minutes to create. Till now, I must have spent around two to three hours to make the website what it is today," says the 25-year-old, who hails from Jamnagar in Gujarat.
Umang works as a front-end engineer for a US-based start-up and has been living in Bengaluru since 2017, after graduating from Babaria Institute of Technology in Vadodara. "The website is open-sourced and people can make changes to the code. Some people have made changes to suit their needs but I have worked on around 95 per cent of the code," says Umang, when asked about whether he worked alone. The website has received 20 lakh page views to date and there was a point when it was receiving about two lakh page views every day. "The page views are decreasing significantly nowadays and that's a good sign," says Umang.