Travel restrictions are being eased gradually across the nation but looking at the numbers of positive Covid-19 cases piling up every day, the pandemic is far from over. The ongoing pandemic has drastically changed our lifestyle and all the aspects related to it. We don’t need to explain how technology now plays an important role in the current scheme of things and given the current situation, Google Maps has introduced new features to help its users work around the COVID-19 situation.
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 unit said on Monday. The update is considered to be a crucial one as it 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 the United Kingdom among other countries, the company said. The transit alerts will send the user crucial information through notifications, by accumulating the data collected by local transit agencies regarding the status of public transport. It will assist the user in planning the trips accordingly by sending out notifications related to all the measures and precautions that the user should undertake on a particular route.
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. The user will get these alerts on the directions screen. Though not available in India as of now, a new feature in the update also focuses on the people traveling to hospitals or Covid-19 testing centres. Google Maps will now remind them to verify their eligibility and give them the facility guidelines. This feature is currently only available in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the US. Meanwhile, the testing centre alert will be enabled only in the US for now.
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. The updated version of Google Maps can be installed directly from the App store, available on both, Android and iOS platforms.
Amitabh Bachchan to navigate you?
In other news, some reports suggest that Google Maps in planning to rope in Amitabh Bachchan to lend his voice. Reportedly, the iconic bollywoood actor with an instantly recognizable voice has been offered an exorbitant amount to come on board but there is no word regarding whether he has agreed to the offer or not.