Google Maps product
manager Sujoy Banerjee, on Thursday, said that Google is updating its free
mapping service this week with color-coding that maps out areas infected with
COVID-19 cases. Tapping the new “COVID-19” option in a layers feature
in a top corner of a screen will enhance maps using the latest 7-day average of
cases per 100,000 people in areas being viewed, AFP quoted Google as saying.

A label will also let
users know whether the number of COVID-19 cases in a particular spot is
trending up or down, according to Banerjee.

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The tool is meant to
provide “critical information about Covid-19 cases in an area so you can
make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do,” Banerjee
said. Data used in the COVID layer comes from sources including Baltimore-based
Johns Hopkins hospital, the New York Times, and Wikipedia, which get
information from public health organizations such as the World Health
Organization and government health ministries, according to Banerjee.

The COVID layer is
rolling out this week worldwide in versions of the map app tailored for mobile
devices powered by Apple or Google-backed Android software, the California-based company said.

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Google Maps already
featured pandemic-related tools such as letting users know when public transit
was likely to be crowded.

“While getting
around is more complicated these days, our hope is that these Google Maps
features will help you get where you need to be as safely and efficiently as
possible,” AFP quoted Banerjee as saying.