Google Maps: Travel traits, adjustments in leisure exercise since COVID-19 pandemic, the way it impacts vacation plans
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – Google Maps has released data showing how people in the US are preparing for the holidays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The popular digital map platform has added features that allow users of the app to safely navigate the app, taking into account COVID-19 damage control guidelines.
The Google Maps navigation platform is designed to make it easier to find information that will help you and your family stay safe, up-to-date and connected to the map’s over 50 million updates every day.
Since the pandemic started, Google Maps has added nearly 250 new features and improvements to the platform to make it easier for users to adapt to COVID-19 guidelines.
One feature includes live updates on how crowded a location or a choice of public transport is at the time of the desired trip.
For example, live activity information is available in the app for millions of locations, so users can preview important health and safety information at a glance.
CROWD SIZE INFORMATION
Google Maps ‘Popular Times’ algorithms can identify ‘activity patterns’ for a specific business or location.
Knowing that business is slow on any given day can help a buyer and business owner make more informed security decisions.
Photo credit: Google
Companies are using social distancing measures to adjust working hours or even close temporarily due to COVID-19.
With on-site ordering, local grocery stores were much busier than usual as shoppers stocked up on supplies. Warm weather also caused crowds to gather in parks and public outdoor areas.
A Google Maps user can now review insights into the apps’ location history data in real time. The apps can detect a peak in a crowded place and display it as “live” data and plan trips or purchases accordingly.
MAP USER PRIVACY
To ensure the safety of the app user, an advanced statistical technique known as differential data protection ensures that “business data” remains anonymous.
Differential Privacy uses a number of methods, including artificially adding “noise” to Google’s location history record, to generate insights without identifying an individual.
COVID LAYER FEATURE
Google has also introduced the “COVID Layer” of Google Maps, which allows nearly 10 million users of the app to get critical information on COVID-19 trends by constantly displaying detected COVID-19 cases in an area and directly from there referenced from local authoritative resources COVID layer.
This can be useful when you are out of town and need to find out about local guidelines, test locations, and restrictions in another town.
When you open Google Maps, you can tap the level button in the top right corner of your screen and click on “COVID-19 Information”.
You will then see a 7-day average of new COVID cases per 100,000 people for an area with a label indicating whether the cases are trending up or down.
The color coding also helps the app user to easily distinguish the density of new cases in an area.
The data included in the COVID layer comes from several authoritative sources, including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia.
These sources pull data from public health organizations such as the World Health Organization, government departments of health, and state and local health agencies and hospitals, many of which already have COVID-19 case information in Google search.
Google has now extended this data to Google Maps.
PUBLIC TRANSIT SOCIAL DISTANCE
Many preferred to avoid the crowds before the COVID-19 pandemic, but Google is now helping everyone in those efforts even more as some areas have social distancing and curfew guidelines. In this way, users of the Google Maps platform can better plan trips.
If you use public transport, Google Maps can now help you create social distance with information about “live congestion”.
On Android and iOS devices around the world, you can see how crowded a bus, train or subway line is with real-time feedback from Google Maps users around the world.
RUN ERRANDS SURE
Whether or not you want to cook a big holiday meal, Google Maps has the ability to see the live status of takeaway and delivery orders when you book or order on Google Maps on Android and iOS.
The app provides information so you know when to pick up your food or when you can expect it to arrive at your door. You can also view the expected waiting times and delivery charges and reorder your favorites directly in the Google Maps app.
If you do so safely, you will soon be able to quickly view the status of your restaurant reservation in 70 countries around the world.
DRIVING MODE ASSISTANT
Even without a global pandemic, the holidays are full and you may have to spend some time on the streets.
Last year, Google gave an early glimpse into the Google Assistant driving mode in Maps. Today they announced that they will be previewing the experience in English for Android users in the United States.
The new driver-friendly assistant interface allows you to get more done while you focus on the road, according to Google.
Users can send and receive calls and texts with their voice, quickly check new messages in one place across messaging apps and read your texts without having to look at their mobile phones.
The Google Assistant even alerts app users of an incoming call so they can answer or decline with their voice.
Driving mode enables all of this without ever leaving the navigation screen, so drivers using the Google Maps platform can minimize distractions on the road.
Google says it has invested in technology that supports some of its key functions, such as: For example, the 20 million places around the world where AR-based Live View data now displays popular time data.
Even during a pandemic, more than 1 billion people can turn to Google Maps to control the many changes in their travel routines.
Regardless of your plans for this holiday season, and no matter how much they have changed, Google wants to help you make your travel easier and safer with Google Maps.