File picture: IANS
File picture: IANS

Google Maps to alert users about Covid-19-related travel restrictions

By Munsif Vengattil Time of article published Jun 9, 2020

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Google is adding features on its Maps service to alert users about COVID-19-related travel restrictions to help them plan their trips better, the Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O> unit said on Monday.

The update would allow users to check how crowded a train station might be at a particular time, or if buses on a certain route are running on a limited schedule, Google said.

The transit alerts would be rolled out in Argentina, France, India, Netherlands, the United States and United Kingdom among other countries, the company said in a blog post.

The new features would also include details on COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions on crossing national borders, starting with Canada, Mexico and the United States.

"We’re also introducing driving alerts to notify you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route, like when crossing national borders (starting first in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.). You’ll see an alert on the directions screen and after starting navigation if your route is impacted by these restrictions. 

When navigating to medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centers, we’ll display an alert reminding you to verify eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system. Starting this week, alerts for medical facilities will be available in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S., and testing center alerts will be available in the U.S."

In recent months, the company has analyzed location data from billions of Google users' phones in 131 countries to examine mobility under lockdowns and help health authorities assess if people were abiding with social-distancing and other orders issued to rein in the virus.

Google has invested billions of dollars from its search ads business to digitally map the world, drawing 1 billion users on average every month to its free navigation app.

Reuters

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