Despite the pandemic keeping many people at home during the holidays, there are still many who will hit the road and travel to see the family. Today, Google has announced a number of new features for Google Maps, some of which are aimed at those who travel on vacation, while others are aimed at those who are staying.
The new features for the previous group include several updates to the COVID layer on Google maps. In the coming weeks, the COVID layer will begin to show a count of all cases detected in an area and surface links on COVID from local authorities. The idea, it seems, is to let users know what the restrictions and rules of a local region might be so they can plan accordingly.
Google Maps will also start showing agglomeration information for public transport, which is useful information if you’re trying to get from point A to point B, avoiding crowds as much as possible. This feature will be available on Android and iOS worldwide and it looks like it will cover bus, train and metro lines.
In addition, Google is launching a preview of new updates for the Google Assistant driving mode, which in principle will only be available to Android users in the US, with English being the only supported language. Car mode allows Google Assistant to take over many of the features of your phone, whether using voice to make calls, send text messages or play media. You can even have the Google Assistant read the text messages you receive or say who is calling when you receive a call.
Google says that the driving mode can be activated in two ways – by tapping the pop-up that appears when you start navigating to a destination, or by accessing the Wizard settings, selecting “Getting around” and then selecting “ Driving mode ”to turn this around.
Finally, we have a new Google Maps feature for those who don’t plan to go anywhere on vacation, as the app will now show the live status of the delivery and pick-up orders you place through the Google Maps app. This feature will be available on the iOS and Android versions of Google Maps in the United States, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil and India, so keep an eye on it in the coming weeks.