Google Maps adds COVID-19 alerts on public transit and travel information

Google Maps adds COVID-19 alerts on public transit and travel information

Many countries are now slowly starting to reopen following closures brought by the coronavirus pandemic. With that, many have also started to adapt to the ‘new normal’.

And to help with the seamless and safe shift, Google Maps just announced new features on the platform. On Monday, the company rolled out new features that are designed to equip travelers and commuters with COVID-19 related information that might impact their trips.

The tech giant aims to get you from point A to point B safely with the help of these new Google Maps features in the midst of this pandemic.

Read: Google Maps for Android now makes it easier to share location without an address

Is ‘safe travel’ possible in this time of the pandemic?

Is 'safe travel' possible in this time of the pandemic?
Is ‘safe travel’ possible in this time of the pandemic?

In a recent blog post, Google announced a new set of features that will provide travelers and commuters with COVID-19 related alerts. Such alerts include impacts on checkpoints on driving routes, travel restrictions, and the degree of crowdedness on public transport.

Thankfully with this update, crowd information can be accessed and modified based on Google crowdedness predictions based on a bus, subway, or train station’s foot traffic in the past. Rolled out last year, Google is now building up on this feature.

Now, if you want to view transit directions, you can scroll down to find crowdedness predictions and add your own observations. You see data on when a transit station is historically more or less crowded. What’s more? You can even choose to view live data by pulling up a station on Google Maps.

Yes, countries will slowly be reopening, but, social distancing will still be strictly observed. And this feature will help you avoid the crowd.

Google Maps new features available in Android and iOS
Google Maps new features available in Android and iOS

“Getting from A to B can be more complicated these days. Because of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule,” Google Maps product management director Ramesh Nagarajan says.

“Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen.”

Google Maps new features…

In this time of the pandemic, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Google Maps’ new features include transit alerts from local agencies to keep users informed about government mandates pertaining to public transportation, like whether such services are available or not, and if masks are required. This feature is available in the following countries with more to be added soon:

Data collected from Google
Data collected from Google

Google will also let users know if their trips involve COVID-19 checkpoints, such as when going to international borders. This feature is already available to the following countries:

Additionally, alerts will also pop up when users plan a trip to a COVID-19 medical facility or testing center. Users will receive alerts reminding them of the guidelines and to verify whether eligibility of a testing center to avoid being turned away, according to Google.

Unfortunately, this feature is not available to many countries just yet. But the tech giant is already working on adding more countries to this list.

Stay safe in the ‘new normal’

The full extent of the coronavirus seems to still be uncertain. As the world shifts to this ‘new normal’, we still need to be safe. Measures such as these are very helpful.

Users took it to Twitter to express their feelings about Google Maps’ new features. One user calling the update a smart move, while another said that it is very helpful.

Reactions of Google Maps users on Twitter
Reactions of Google Maps users on Twitter

Another one said that the features help in maintaining social distancing.

Google Maps' new features help maintain social distancing, according to one user
Google Maps’ new features help maintain social distancing, according to one user

Since the start of the pandemic, many tech companies have done their part to help in this crisis that we battle together. Google has had many updates on its platforms and services that will help its users especially those who are greatly affected.

Middle of April, it has been announced that Google and Apple are working together on developing contact tracing software to help locate individuals who have been exposed to people with COVID-19 virus.

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