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COVID-19 crisis: Google Maps rolls out new features to help you navigate safely

These newly-introduced features are accessible by both Android and iOS users.

In the unprecedented times of this COVID-19 outbreak when countries across the globe are trying to get back on track by reopening, it becomes extremely important for us one of us to gather the right information about the routes we are taking before and during the trip to be able to travel safely. For this, Google Maps has now introduced new features to help you easily find important information if you need to venture out, whether it’s by car or public transportation. These features are accessible by both Android and iOS users.

If a user searches for public transit directions for a trip that is likely to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions, Google Maps will show relevant alerts from local transit agencies. With the help of these alerts, you’ll get to know if government mandates impact transit services or require you to wear a mask on public transportation and prepare accordingly. According to Ramesh Nagarajan, Product Management Director at Google Maps: “Transit alerts are rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom and the U.S. where we have information from local transit agencies, with more coming soon.”

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“We’re also introducing driving alerts to notify you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route, like when crossing national borders (starting first in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.). You’ll see an alert on the directions screen and after starting navigation if your route is impacted by these restrictions,” he added.

If a user is navigating to medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centres, Google Maps will show an alert reminding you to verify eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system. The alerts for medical facilities, which is starting this week, will be accessible in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the US, and testing centre alerts will be available in the US.

Besides this, Google Maps are actively working with other agencies around the world to bring even more of this helpful data to its users.

In 2019, the teach giant had introduced crowdedness predictions for public transit in Google Maps. “We’re now making it simpler for people to contribute crowdedness information for their transit lines. Look up Directions, tap through to see the Transit Details, then scroll down to find crowdedness predictions (where available) and easily contribute your own experiences,” an official Google blog post revealed.

In addition to this, Google Maps has recently announced new insights like temperature, accessibility and security onboard, as well as designated women’s sections in regions where transit systems have them. Now available globally, these insight will help Google Maps users find feedback from past riders when available and submit your own, right alongside public transit routes. To help wheelchair users around the world know before they go, Google Maps has added more granular accessibility information for people to find and contribute, including where there are wheelchair accessible doors, seating, stop buttons and more.

Do let us know what precautions you are adopting to safely venture out during this COVID-19 phase in the comments section below.

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