Google Maps has introduced a COVID-19 layer which shows local infection statistics for users. The idea is to give users an indication of the state of local areas by showing the seven-day new average of cases as reported by Engadget.
News emerged that Google Maps has begun work on this feature at the start of September. However, this is not the only innovation from the app with regards to the pandemic.
When infection levels were at their peak back in June, Google Maps also introduced a way to see how busy public transport was. This allowed users to avoid crowded trains and buses.
Google has also begun showing how busy local businesses are as well as tagging testing sites on the app. Now Google has introduced another new feature.
This feature took Google some time to put into action. The company had to source data from credible institutions across the world in order for it to work properly. These include John Hopkins University and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Google introduces COVID-19 layer to present infection data
By Google Maps presenting local COVID-19 statistics, the hope is to give users more information about places around the world. Thus giving objective clarity which has not always been easy to find during the pandemic.
The feature shows the number of infections per 100,000 people in any given area. It also provides notes showing whether infection rates are increasing, decreasing or are stable.
The feature also gives a coloring for each region based on the level of infection. Red colors indicate high levels of infection by yellow or white areas indicate lower levels. This should allow users to get a quick glimpse of how each region is doing without having to delve into the number specifically.
Google says that the new layer will work in all 220 countries so is a global initiative. The feature begins rolling out on both iOS and Android this week.
There is no official word on how long this will take exactly but expect it to come to your device fairly shortly.
Overall, this looks like a positive move from Google. Most people are craving more factual information about the pandemic when it most places it is lacking.
This should provide a lot of people with the information they want in order to make informed decisions about where they want to travel. The layer also looks to be quite intuitively designed to make it easy for users to understand and navigation which is always a plus.