With lockdown restrictions still limiting travel to certain areas within your State, the need to use Google Maps might seem redundant given that you’ve probably memorised the route to your local supermarket. But as restrictions are set to ease around the world, the prospect of leaving the humble abode and trading our bedrooms for an actual office is once again looming on the horizon. And to help ensure a smooth transition to a “new normal” which continues to respect the health and safety of everyone, Google is now adding a new feature to its Maps service to alert users about Covid-19-related travel restrictions.
As companies prepare staff for a return to the office, the issue now lies in maintaining social distancing on the work commute. At the height of Covid-19, the thought of being stranded on a platform waiting for a delayed train only to find yourself squashed between sweaty bodies when it finally does arrive is all but a distant memory. But with work resuming, fears are mounting that the return of peak hour could hurt efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19.The new Google Maps feature will now 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.
These new updates will be rolled out in Australia, along with Argentina, France, India, Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom. The new features will also include details on Covid-19 checkpoints and restrictions on crossing national borders, starting with Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
The Google update is one of many the company has implemented since the world was seized in the grips of a global pandemic. As New York Times reports, “the company has analysed location data from billions of Google users’ phones in 131 countries to examine mobility under lockdowns and help heath authorities assess if people were abiding with social distancing and other orders issued to rein in the virus.”
The update will be available on both Android and iOS phones running Google Maps. To find out more about the Maps feature and how to use it, you can read about it here in Google’s full press release. The feature is available now, so to ease those return-to-work jitters, simply download or update Google Maps to receive the new travel information.