Google introduced an array of updates to its Maps service, offering real-time alerts and information on Covid-19 (coronavirus)-related restrictions for people travelling by car or public transport.
In a blog, Google Maps product management director Ramesh Nagarajan said the new features aimed to provide “pertinent information” as countries begin to lift lockdown measures imposed to confine the pandemic.
The updated version of the mapping service will display alerts from local transport authorities regarding their rules, for example requirements for travellers to wear masks. The feature will initially be available in 13 countries including Brazil, France, Spain, the UK and US, with additional locations to follow.
Another update aims to help enact social distancing on public transport by showing live data on how crowded stations are and information on busy periods. The feature is due in the coming weeks.
Drivers using Google Maps for navigation will be notified of Covid-19 checkpoints and restrictions, such as when crossing national borders. The alerts will initially be available in the US, Canada and Mexico.
There are also updates covering medical facilities, with information on guidelines and eligibility requirements set to be offered in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea and the US this week. Google’s home nation is also in line for details regarding Covid-19 testing centres.