Google Maps to alert users to travel restrictions related to COVID-19

ARCHIVE PHOTO: The Google Maps app logo is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken on September 15, 2017. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

(Reuters) – Google is adding features to its Maps service to alert users to COVID-19-related travel restrictions to help them better plan their trips, the Alphabet unit said on Monday.

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The update will allow users to check how crowded a train station can be at any given time or whether buses on a given route are running with limited hours, Google said.

Traffic alerts will be launched in Argentina, France, India, the Netherlands, the United States and the United Kingdom, among other countries, the company said. on here in a blog post.

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

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In the past few months, the company has analyzed location data from billions of phones of Google users in 131 countries to examine mobility under blocks and help health officials assess whether people are complying with requests for social distance and others issued to control the virus.

Google has invested billions of dollars in its search ad business to digitally map the world, attracting an average of 1 billion users every month to its free navigation app.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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