Long gone are the days of Google Maps serving as only a place to get directions from point A to point B. Now, it’s a full recommendation engine that will provide you with all sorts of information about the places you’re thinking about visiting.

Google announced on The Keyword that it is rolling out new features that are designed to help keep you safe while you’re out and about. As more places begin to open during the COVID-19 era, more and more of us are venturing out of our homes, making safety information more important than ever.

New Safety Features in Google Maps

One of the coolest features of Google Maps is the ability to see how busy a place is at that exact moment. Google is updating that feature so that you don’t need to click on a place to see how busy it is. Instead, Google will now show busyness right on the map for some places. The change will soon be available to users on Android, iOS, and desktop.

This means you can scan around the stores and restaurants around you to choose a place based on the current level of crowdedness. With social distancing playing a role in most of our decisions, this is a really nice feature to have.

Google also announced plans to expand its busyness feature to more places around the world. The company said that it is on track to increase global coverage by five times compared to June 2020. The company is working to add places such as outdoor areas, like beaches and parks, and places like grocery stores, gas stations, laundromats, and pharmacies.

Additionally, Google is now displaying important health and safety information about businesses front and center on Maps and Search. If the information is available, you’ll be able to see what safety precautions a business is taking. For example, you could see whether they require customers to wear masks, if there’s plexiglass onsite, and so on.

Finally, Google will update Live View on Android and iOS. With this new update, users will be able to use AR to learn more about a restaurant, store, or business. For example, you could point your phone at a store and see whether it’s open, how busy it is, its star rating, and health and safety information.

Google Maps Keeps Getting Better

No matter how you use Google Maps, it appears that Google intends to make its service better and better. Between new features that provide convenience and those that actually help keep us safe as we start to explore the world again, Google seems to have everything figured out.

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