Google Maps is now issuing COVID-19 related alerts to those looking for public transport directions in cities, looking for medical facilities and testing centres, and for those crossing borders.
Google has announced on its blog that it is augmenting its Google Maps information with alerts relating to COVID-19 restrictions, requirements and advice depending on the subject of the search. The new features in the latest release of Google Maps on Android and iOS include:
– Alerts from local transit agencies e.g. if persons are required to wear a mask on public transportation in the area that they are searching for information about. These alerts are being rolled out by Google in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the U.S.
– Driving alerts about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along routes e.g. when crossing national borders in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
– Alerts reminding Google Maps users searching for medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centres about eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system.
These alerts are in addition to those features already introduced last year, such as crowdedness predictions for public transit stations in Google Maps, and insights introduced in February, such as temperature, accessibility, onboard security, and insights concerning designated women’s sections in regions where transit systems have them.
Google has also announced that those searching for transit stations on Maps will be able to see information about the times when that transit station is historically more or less busy, thereby enabling them to plan trips accordingly. Also, Google Maps users can now see live data showing how busy a particular transit station is right now compared to its usual level of activity.
Travel, whether it be to or from re-opening workplaces or business trips now involves the need to avoid crowded places and to be aware of the different rules to apply as regards the wearing of masks or any travel restrictions in certain areas. The introduction of these new features and insights to Google Maps is not only helpful to users in the current situation but will also help Google ensure that its services remain relevant and are used as people are spending more time on and relying more on other COVID-19 tracing and alert apps in different countries around the world.