With the world grappling with COVID-19 pandemic, search giant Google has announced a new initiative that will help citizens in Mumbai view contaminated zones on their smartphones. Google has launched a new feature in the COVID-19 layer on Google Maps that will display the demarcation of containment zones in Mumbai.
This feature will cover all Indian states and is also available in several other regions globally. For accessing the new feature, Android and iOS users will have to update their Google Maps app to the latest version, and then select "COVID-19 info" from the layers button at the top right of the app.
By enabling the 'COVID-19 info' layer, demarcated zones will be displayed via a shaded grey area. This will be displayed when a user in Mumbai enables this feature. Google is working closely with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for sourcing this information and says will be updating this data regularly.
When a user zooms out to view an entire state, this new layer overlays the number of new COVID-19 cases (a 7-day average) indicated per 100,000 users and the trend in the number of cases in that state.
"As people and businesses emerge from the lockdown, access to clear information about COVID-19 containment zones as recommended by the authorities in Mumbai will enable users to make better decisions as they move around the city. This new feature strengthens our commitment towards working closely with the government to disseminate helpful, authoritative, and relevant information for people during the pandemic," says Google spokesperson.
This builds upon Google's global announcement in September, at the launch of the COVID-19 info layer, which enables users to also access state-level COVID-19 statistics. Google says that with COVID-19 infections still on the rise, there continues to be an ongoing need for updated and locally relevant information that users can turn to in their daily lives.
Google is continuously working with multiple central and state government authorities to make authentic information easily accessible to its users across different Google products. And look forward to collaborating with more cities and extending the containment zones feature for them. Google claims that its mission is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.