With an update of Google Maps the search engine giant wants to improve the handling of the coronavirus. This should make the current situation in different regions more discoverable.
As Google announced in a recent blog post, the company will soon add a helpful feature to its own Maps app. This week, local information on the spread of the coronavirus will be summarized in a new overview and made available as a layer in Google Maps.
This new layer, which can soon be activated if wanted, shows a 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the selected region. A small icon is added to show whether the number of cases is currently increasing or decreasing. This information is accompanied by a color-coding, which makes it easy to see the COVID situation in a region.
According to Google, the information should be available in all 220 countries and territories supported by Google Maps. As a basis, the information of a state is displayed, plus more in-depth details, for example of county, province, or even city, if this data is available.
Google receives data from several sources, including Johns Hopkins, the New York Times, and Wikipedia. These in turn receive their information from organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), ministries of health, and local authorities or hospitals. These data sources are already used by Google in regular searches to provide important information about the coronavirus.
Google says the new layers in Google Maps for iOS and Android are expected to be available this week. The new data can then be activated if desired via the layer tool in the upper right corner of the app, where you can already find the satellite or terrain view, for example. The company did not say if or when the update will also reach the web version.