Google Maps now tells you how crowded public transport is - and Covid case numbers in your area

Thursday, 19th November 2020, 1:56 pm
Updated Friday, 20th November 2020, 10:53 am

Google has introduced a new feature, allowing users to see local coronavirus case figures at a glance, as well as public transport information.

The so-called 'Covid layer' is available as part of updates to Google Maps on Android and iOS, and will allow map users to see all-time detected cases in their local area, and links to Covid-19 resources relating to your local community.

Google Maps has also developed a tool which allows you to see how busy particular transport links are, as well as live takeaway services. The update can show information on how busy a place may be by using location information from other phones, allowing people to plan their travel in a safer way.

'A never-ending quest to understand and organise information'

Announcing the introduction of the Covid layer, Google said it had added “250 new features and improvements” intended to help users “adapt to this new normal."

Google previously added the Covid layer to Maps in efforts to help detect trends in the spread of the disease - allowing 10 million people gain access to information, according to the tech giant.

The new updates will be "especially handy if you're heading out of town and need to get up to speed about the local guidelines, testing sites and restrictions in another city," Google Maps product VP, Dane Glasgow, wrote in a blog post.

"Creating a map is hard - what's even harder is keeping it continuously updated… but that's also what makes a map useful these days, and what our users expect. We are on a never-ending quest to understand and organise the endless information in the physical world, as it happens," he added.

In the same vein, information on "crowdedness" is intended to help people “more easily social distance," Google said.