Google Maps rolls out huge COVID-19 update with 'warnings, test centres, border checks and times to avoid travel'

GOOGLE is adding features to its Maps app to help users get around safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

An update to the app rolling out across the globe will highlight test centre locations and Covid-19 border checks.

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Users can also assess whether they wish to travel at all based on how crowded a train station might be at a particular time, Google said.

The California company announced the changes coming to Google Maps on Android and iPhone in a blog post on Monday.

It said the tools were designed to help people get from A to B in a world where travel can be "more complicated" due to Covid-19 restrictions.

"Because of Covid-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule," Gogle wrote.

"Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen."

The transit alerts will be rolled out in Argentina, France, India, Netherlands, the United States and United Kingdom among other countries.

It's not clear when the changes will hit each nation but the update will likely be sent out to users in the coming weeks.

Among the additions are the ability to check if buses on a certain route are running on a limited schedule.

The new features also include details on COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions on crossing national borders, starting with Canada, Mexico and the United States.

In recent months, the company has analysed location data from billions of Google users' phones in 131 countries to examine mobility under lockdowns.

Google is helping health authorities assess if people are 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.

Its free Maps app draws one billion users on average every month.

Google Earth – the key facts

Here's what you need to know…

  • Google Earth is a computer program that provides detailed views of Earth
  • It renders a 3D representation of Earth, largely based on satellite imagery
  • The app first launched on June 11, 2001
  • This allows users to see cities and landscapes from different angles
  • The app is available on computers and mobile devices
  • According to Google, the Earth program covers more than 98% of the world
  • Google also claims to have captured more than 10million miles of Street View imagery

In other news, Google Maps recently revealed aerial views of Earth’s most stunning landscapes.

A Google Maps prankster created virtual "traffic jams" using a trolley of 100 phones.

And, Apple recently updated its Maps app with more detail and faster navigation.

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