- Google Maps has announced a new mapping level that allows users to view regions that are color-coded based on the number of COVID-19 cases per capita.
- The feature is designed to help users “make more informed decisions about where and what to do”.
- The COVID-19 shift will be rolled out this week for iOS and Android users.
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Google started rolling out a new feature on Wednesday that will allow app users to view relative COVID-19 case numbers as a layer on Google Maps. The level marks the areas using their 7-day average for the number of new cases per 1
The goal of the new feature is to help users “make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do,” wrote Sujoy Banerjee, product manager at Google, in a blog post on Wednesday.
The move isn’t Google’s first attempt at releasing features tailored for life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In June, Google released a number of features including transit alerts that ping users if the government mandates an impact service or if there is a mask requirement on board. Google has also introduced driving alerts that notify users of COVID-19 checkpoints while traveling. And for those who want to avoid overcrowded wagons, Google has also made it easier to access live data on business with train stations.
Competitors like Bing and Apple have also been working on pandemic-oriented mapping tools. Bing is running a live COVID-19 tracker with global case data. In April, both Google and competitor Apple added COVID-19 test pages to their map platforms. Apple began making aggregated mobility data available in April to help governments and health authorities set guidelines.
In addition to the country-level data from Google Maps in 220 countries and territories, there is also federal, county, and city-level data where data is available. According to Google, Google gets the COVID-19 data from Johns Hopkins, the New York Times and Wikipedia.
The COVID level will be rolled out for iOS and Android users starting this week. Users can activate the COVID-19 tier on their mobile device by opening Google Maps on their phone, tapping the tier button, and selecting COVID-19 information.
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