Google Maps is a handy tool for navigation but every now and then, it adds some useful features. This week, Google announced Maps will soon start showing detailed information of COVID-19 outbreaks in local areas. This will make sure users can plan their travel accordingly, especially if they are going to a COVID-infected area. Also Read - Google brings new delete policy for Drive files from October 13
Google pointed out the feature will be available by clicking on ‘COVID-19 info’ which will be available on the top right-hand corner of the screen. Using Maps, you can then get to know the pattern of increase or decrease in cases over the past week or so. Details like these will help determine if you’re safe visiting or should avoid going altogether. Also Read - Google Maps uses AI to improve travel time accuracy for users
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The areas with a high density of cases will be notified with dark color. And similarly, if the cases are low, then the color will be lighter. Maps was already giving us updates about containment zones in the cities. But the new update will add more strength to its information ecosystem. Also Read - Apple Watch users to get new feature-packed Google Maps soon
Google is going to rely on existing data through sources like Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia. “Many of these sources already power COVID case information in Search, and we’re now expanding this data to Google Maps,” this post said. These are dedicated platforms that get direct information from the Health Ministry from across the countries. The new COVID-19 feature will be available on the Android and iOS versions of Google Maps this week.
Google Maps to use AI for better traffic prediction
Google has used real-time traffic data available through GPS to estimate travel time. But its partnership with DeepMind will improve on the location as well as travel time accuracy with future predictions. For this, DeepMind has created a graphic neural network, which looks at a further set of data. This includes road quality, speed limits, and closures to gauge future traffic situations. With all this data, Google Maps will be able to alert the users before even they start their journey.