Cities and states are slowly coming out of isolation, which means more travel and more risk. Google Maps wants to help by implementing a few new features to keep you up to date with the latest COVID-19 information. That includes relevant alerts and warnings about local rules, like mandatory face masks.
One of the significant changes for large cities comes to subways. Google Maps will make it easier to see how crowded a subway typically is this time of the day. And, if need be, you can pull up a live view to check a subway’s “crowdedness.”
As Maps product director Ramesh Nagarajan put it, you’ll simply “search for a station in Google Maps or tap on the station on the map to see the departure board and busyness data, where available.
And when you’re driving, you’ll start seeing relevant alerts for the locations along your route. If an area requires masks, Google Maps will let you know. You’ll also see notifications about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions on your journey, such as at a border crossing.
And when you enter a medical facility or COVID-19 testing center, Google Maps will remind you to research testing requirements, so you don’t get turned away. The messages will start this week in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the United States, along with testing center alerts in the United States.
The rest of the changes will roll out over several weeks, so if you don’t see them yet, they should arrive eventually.