Google Maps adds fresh new COVID-related features for holidays

With the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent festival holidays, Google has added some more useful features on its Maps platform for navigators. With a dedicated blog post, Google reiterated that it has added 250 new features for millions of locations that will allow navigators to easily see critical health and safety information at a glance. As an excerpt, there are three key updates that will be useful with the new update. 

  • Updated COVID layer with more information 
  • Live status of deliveries and takeaway restaurants
  • An updated Driving Mode 

Updated COVID layer 

To delve into these in detail, the COVID layer for Android and iOS now shows “all-time detected cases in an area, along with quick links to COVID resources from local authorities”. Needless to say, this will be a very handy feature especially for travellers during holidays. Google has also made it easier to dodge crowds. The new Maps has a live crowdedness information for both iOS and Android. Users will be able to see “bus, train, or subway line is right now based on real-time feedback from Google Maps users around the world (wherever data is available).”

Live status of deliveries and takeaway

If you’re looking to eat out or takeaways, there will be live updates for delivery orders in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India. That’s not all, expected delivery times, order fees, as well as easy re-order from favorites are all available. Users will also soon be able to see status of their table reservations across 70 countries. 

Feature-rich Driving Mode

As a limited feature for Android users in the US, the Google Assistant Driving Mode now allows users to simply use voice to send and receive calls and texts, quickly review new messages across your messaging apps on the same single page. Assistant will also read out messages loud and notify for any incoming calls. Playing music or media from YouTube Music, Spotify, or Google Podcasts is an added bonus here.  This is a very useful feature and we expect Google to roll it out to all users eventually after initial testing. 

The update is part of a series of COVID layers that Google introduced a few weeks back and Google says it is serving more than a billion people in the pandemic.


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