Google is adding features on its maps service to alert users about COVID-19-related travel restrictions to help them plan their trips in a more informed way.
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 says.
Amongst other countries, the transit alerts have been rolled out in Argentina, France, India, the Netherlands, the US and the UK. New features also include details on COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions on crossing national borders, starting with Canada, Mexico and the US.
In the last few months, the worldwide search engine powerhouse has been analysing location data from billions of Google users’ phones in 131 countries to examine mobility under lockdown conditions in different countries and cities. This is in order to help health authorities assess if people were abiding with social-distancing and other orders issued to rein in the virus.
Money Control writes that since Google began investing billions of dollars into digitally mapping the world, its free navigation app averages 1 billion users every month.
Google Maps and wheelchair accessibility
In honour of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Google added a feature to its Maps app that puts details about a location’s accessibility facilities front and centre.
With the “Accessible Places” feature enabled, business and points of interest with wheelchair-accessible entrances are marked with a wheelchair icon along with information about whether accessible seating, restrooms and parking are available.
To turn the feature on, users can head to the app’s “Settings” menu, then navigate to “Accessibility Settings,” and toggle on “Accessible Places.”