Apple on Tuesday announced that it has released a mobility data trends tool that would help in providing insights to local governments and health authorities about how much people are traveling, walking or taking public transit during coronavirus lockdown. The mobility tool by Apple derives anonymized information from Apple Maps users to keep a track of their movements.
Announcing the same on Twitter, Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote, "While protecting your privacy, we are sharing aggregated mobility data from Apple Maps to help public health authorities learn how people travel in their communities and to provide valuable insights to stop the spread of COVID-19. Stay safe and healthy!"
"Maps does not associate mobility data with a user's Apple ID, and Apple does not keep a history of where a user has been. Using aggregated data collected from Apple Maps, the new website indicates mobility trends for major cities and 63 countries or regions. The information is generated by counting the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions. The data sets are then compared to reflect a change in the volume of people driving, walking or taking public transit around the world. Data availability in a particular city, country, or region is subject to a number of factors, including minimum thresholds for direction requests made per day," the statement by Apple read.
Apple promises to provide a good experience while also protecting the privacy of the users. "Data collected by Maps, like search terms, navigation routing, and traffic information, is associated with random, rotating identifiers that continually reset, so Apple doesn't have a profile of your movements and searches," Apple said.
Google too launched community mobility reports that would help the health authorities in tracking the crowded areas. People can check the COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports website, select their country and download a PDF that shows the increase and decrease of movement across many places such as the grocery stores, medicine shops, local parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential areas. This would show how much people are following social distancing and how it will help in flattening the coronavirus curve.
Earlier, Apple announced that it had soured 20 million masks or face shields to help the healthcare workers have been fighting coronavirus pandemic at the frontlines.
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