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Google Maps new features to assist with a Covid-safe Christmas

Google continues to add Google Maps improvements, which it hopes will help users have a Covid-safe holiday season.

One of a series of notable new features is a real-time crowdedness information indicator for public transport, which will rely on live crowd-sourced data from Maps users.

Google says the feature is coming to Android and iOS globally, giving users an indication on how crowded the bus, train or subway line is whenever you plan to travel.

Users will see a live indicator alongside the transit options and could be informed a particular tube train is “a little busy”. If so, they could wait for one that’s “not too crowded”.

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With many folks still relying greatly on public transport in order to get to and from work, the feature could help them decide which method of transport poses the least risk. The data will not be foolproof, of course, but should be a healthy indicator. Google has previously provided historic data for stations, but now it’s expanded to individual, buses, trains and subways.

A smartphone standing on white background displaying navigation on Google Maps

Perhaps an equally useful service, which is coming to the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India, but not the United Kingdom, pertains to takeout and delivery orders made through Google Maps on iOS and Android. In the case of the former, it may prevent you from showing up too early and waiting among too many others to pick up your dinner.

In blog post, the company writes: “Now, you can know when to pick up your food, or when you can expect it to arrive at your doorstep. You can also see expected wait times and delivery fees, and easily reorder your favorites right from the Google Maps app. And when it’s safe to head to restaurants, you’ll soon be able to quickly see the status of your reservation in 70 countries around the world.”

Picture of a far long road with car driving ahead and trees on either sides of the roadsA smartphone standing on white background displaying Google Maps

Google is also making improvements to the Covid layer within the Google Maps app, which will now show more real time information, such as area-by-area case rates, local guidelines and testing sites.

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