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Google Maps will show you if a place has room for social distancing and if it's crowded

Google Maps will show you if a place has room for social distancing and if it's crowded
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic took over the world, Google Maps has been adding helpful updates for its users. Back in June, for example, Maps got a feature showing the crowdedness of transit areas, and just recently it got a full "COVID-19 layer". Google describes the latter as "a tool that shows critical information about COVID-19 cases in an area so you can make more informed decisions about where to go and what to do."

Now, the search engine giant has announced its next step in helping users get informed ahead of leaving their homes – expanding Google Maps' live busyness information. With the upcoming update, busyness information about essential places, such as stores, pharmacies and gas stations will be shown worldwide. In addition, data on whether parks, beaches, and other public areas are crowded or not will also become visible to Google Maps users, so they can take it into consideration.

Additionally, Google plans on using its Duplex AI technology to call businesses and ask them if their Maps information is still current, as during the pandemic, businesses may have changed their working hours, for example. Duplex itself is Google's AI system that can make phone calls and interact with humans on the receiving end by using natural speech. You can see a demonstration of Duplex here.

In any case, the Google Maps update in question is said to be coming soon to Android, iOS and desktop. Many users can already access plenty of pandemic-related information on Google Maps right now, though as Google notes, the upcoming update will be expanding on that helpful info and will be making it available worldwide.

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