Google is continuously improving its Maps feature to help people navigate easily as more cities open up post the Covid-19 pandemic. You will now see relevant alerts from transit agencies regarding the mandatory procedures required before boarding, such as wearing a mask and sanitizing.
Google maps is also making it easier to see how crowded a transport station normally is. However, if the historical data is not available, you can still view live data for ‘crowdedness’.
For Kenya, you will be able to note how crowded your matatu stage is before you head there. You will also be able to access data that shows you the busiest hours such as peak times after work when most people are crowded at the stage.
“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.” Maps Product DirectorRamesh Nagarajan wrote in a blog post.
Google maps acquires this data anonymously from users who have enabled location history on their Google accounts. The company says this setting is off by default but Google apps normally encourages users to turn it on for the best experiences.
Additional alerts will also be added on driving mode, to show you any upcoming Covid-19 checkpoints and restrictions along your route. This will be shown on the main directions screen and also after you start driving, letting you know if your route will be impacted.
Users who check into a medical facility or Covid-19 testing center as their destination are encouraged by Google to do a bit of research to ensure they are not turned away. “An appointment may be required for Covid-19 testing here” is just one of the alerts you can get when you query a search of the medical facility on Google maps.
Since March, Google encouraged users to call doctors if they were experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms instead of showing up at the already overwhelmed medical facilities. The company has also promoted food takeout and delivery options in the app although most establishments remain closed.