Google has rolled out two new features for its Maps app that are designed to help users live safely in the days of COVID-19, according to a new post on the Google blog. The app now displays alerts that inform you of any coronavirus-related travel restrictions and reports on how busy public transport can be.
If you look up directions for a trip that may require you to wear a mask on public transport, pass through a COVID-19 checkpoint, or have another type of COVID-19 related impact, you will see a relevant alert on the app. Information for these alerts is collected from “authoritative data from local, state, and federal governments or their websites,” according to Google. These alerts are live in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, the UK, and the US, with plans to expand into more areas.
If you go to a medical facility or a COVID-19 test center, Google Maps displays an alert telling you to check if you meet eligibility requirements. This feature is available for medical facilities in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S., and test center alerts are available in the U.S.
Finally, last year Google introduced a feature that predicts how busy public transport will be based on user-submitted data. When looking up a public transport route on Google Maps, one can now find information about the crowd by tapping to see Transit Details, and then scrolling down to see the predictions of the crowd. You can also see the times a public transit station has been busy in the past — just search for a station, or tap the map to see relevant data.