Google Maps

By: Nick Gambino

Google has been on a roll in 2020 adding features that help users navigate this unprecedented pandemic. Per their own count, they’ve added almost 250 new features since it started. In line with that, they’ve now added even more features to Google Maps for both iOS and Android that allow you to glean how safe an area is based on relevant COVID-19 numbers.

Users will now be able to see how many COVID cases have been reported in a specific area. This allows you to make informed decisions as to whether or not you want to visit an area or if you want to take extra precautions while there.

In addition to total cases, Google Maps will also provide links to info about the pandemic’s presence in that area. You’ll even gain access to a 7-day graph letting you see whether or not things are getting better or worse by the numbers.

While information about how many cases have tested positive in an area is helpful, it’s those undetected cases that’ll get you. We can shore ourselves up by reducing the amount of contact we have with other people. To help with that, they’re expanding their crowdedness feature where you can find out how crowded public transportation (bus, train, subway) is at a given time, allowing you to decide whether you want to switch up for a different mode of transportation or adjust your schedule.

While there’s been a version of this feature in Google Maps for some time, the information is now being updated in real-time, for immediate actionable data. This feature is rolling out worldwide right now.

Outside of the purview of COVID (but also not really), Google has added increased insight into food ordered through Google Maps, allowing users to see when their food is ready for pick-up or when it will be delivered to their door.

With the holiday season bearing down upon us, we’re bracing for an impact as crowds gather and humans huddle for warmth. These new features in the Google Maps app will at least help you navigate the worst of it and keep yourself safe.