Traveling during the pandemic can be tough.
That’s why the latest version of Google Maps for Android and iOS has several features that might help travelers get around safely.
Now, when you look up public transit directions, Maps will show COVID-19-related alerts. Google points out that data will only be available where it can get info from the local transit agencies, and only on trips that are likely to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions.
These alerts are rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, United Kingdom, and the U.S., and Google says they’re coming to more countries “soon.”
Maps will also display alerts when you navigate to medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centers, warning you to “verify eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system.” Alerts for medical facilities are rolling this week in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S. Alerts for testing centers will only be available in the U.S. Again, Google says it will only show these alerts when it can get “authoritative data from local, state and federal governments or from their websites.”
Google says the app will also tell you how crowded buses, subways, and transit stations will be. Plus, you’ll be able to see when a transit station has historically been less busy so you can plan ahead. Google says these features are powered by aggregated and anonymized data from users who opt in to Google Location History. They’ll be rolling out in the “next several weeks.”
Finally, the app will show you driving alerts, notifying you about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route — for example, when crossing national borders. This feature will initially only be available in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.