Google Maps is about to add yet another useful layer to its interface. The search giant has announced that Google Maps will have information about COVID-19 cases on a state, city and county level. This new “COVID” layer on Google Maps will give those using it a look at an average number of these cases for the past seven days and assign a color to them depending on the severity. In addition, those viewing the map this way will be able to see if cases are increasing or decreasing. Google is rolling this feature out this week on both the Android and the iPhone.
This highly useful data is gathered from a few sources, including the New York Times, Wikipedia and Johns Hopkins‘ dashboard focusing on COVID-19. The data compiled by these specific sources comes from places like the World Health Organization, a number of local health officials, and the hospitals themselves. A large amount of this data is already being used by the tech giant in searches already too. Having this information readily available to the more than one billion people who frequent Google Maps should help to boost overall awareness about the ongoing pandemic.Read More »
Offering an easy way to get a quick glance at an area’s COVID levels should certainly have an impact on at least some of the population. Clearly, it will help the people most concerned with the pandemic prepare ahead of time and also could be useful for businesses to have easily available too. This new map overlay doesn’t appear to be coming to the desktop version of maps, however.
New layer Google’s latest feature to address the pandemic
This is part of Google’s wish to give people a better way to plan accordingly if they are going to go somewhere. A map with information about hotspots could be a useful feature for many and even potentially save lives. The Centers for Disease Control and Production (CDC) has recommended that people keep a close eye on their local area when it comes to deciding where to go during the pandemic. This is especially important for parents with children going to school every day and also for handling upcoming holiday plans.
This is yet another example of Google being proactive about adding changes during the pandemic. The company has already added alerts that deal with announcements for new face-covering mandates on public transit, adding new information about takeout, delivery and dine-in at restaurants and including warnings to call a doctor for those who think they might have COVID-19. Google also has tools built in that show the most popular time of the day for a business, something that certainly helps people plan on when to go somewhere when there’s less likely to be a crowd.
A no brainer for Google
There are few reasons for the search giant not to add a useful new feature like this to its platform. It could be increasingly important in the upcoming winter months for those who are traveling and do not have as many safer, outdoor options to take refuge because of the colder weather. It also gives Google yet another public relations victory in a year where public officials have gone after the tech giant a number of times because of their massive market share in the search world.
Finally, Google brings another useful feature to its ecosystem in an area that will have much more of a profound impact on many people’s lives than something like a way to play more games and so forth. The older demographic especially might take heed of this new feature and gravitate towards Google’s products.
This new feature comes at a crucial time in the United States as coronavirus cases have been on the rise again with outbreaks occurring in parts of the Midwest. Many health officials are worried there may be another spike this fall and this is Google’s way of trying to help with the technology they have.
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