As the coronavirus pandemic continues to run rampant, Google Maps is introducing new features to help you find important information as you venture out each day. To ensure that everyone is following proper social-distancing rules, Maps has included a feature to let users know how crowded public transport is, and if it’s running on a modified schedule. This kind of information is critical for essential workers and will prove invaluable as the world begins to re-open.
Google Maps + COVID
When you are anticipating a trip that may be affected by the pandemic, Google Maps offers COVID alerts from local transit agencies. These alerts will notify you of government policies in different states and counties, as well as where masks are required. Google is even extending these alerts to various countries so others have the opportunity to stay well informed during their travels. “Driving alerts” will keep you up to date on virus checkpoints you may encounter, these will begin popping up when crossing borders into Canada and Mexico. Perhaps the most important alert Google now offers is the medical facility alerts, Google will remind you to verify eligibility when you go to a hospital or clinic, and remind you of specific facility guidelines so you are prepared to enter without risk of being turned away. All alerts are based on “authoritative data from local, state, or federal governments or from their websites…”
Google Maps introduced a way to monitor how crowded certain public transits might be at the time you were looking to travel. That has never been more helpful than it is today, given what the world is experiencing. Throughout the day, riders can report on Google Maps how busy their bus or train is and help other commuters stay up-to-date on how crowded their transport will be when they are needing to ride. There are also new additions such as temperature, accessibility, and security. These rely on past riders to report their honest experiences on Google Maps, but riders can have confidence that others in their shoes will provide useful information. In order to keep the app informed, users must opt-in to Google Location History, but user insights “are only surfaced when [Google has] sufficient data to meet privacy thresholds.”
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