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Google Releases 5 Cool Features for Smartphones

COVID-19, apps, smartphone

These days, even in a pandemic, the clever techy folks are out there creating apps to make everything a bit easier.  Google is one of them. They’ve just released some very timely apps that have our safety – and those of essential workers  in mind. As the state (and the country starts to open up), getting around is still a bit tricky, but these apps should help make the going not so tough.


1. COVID-related public transit alerts

It’s never been more important to know before you go. Maps now informs users whether their chosen route has been affected by coronavirus, including alerts for government-mandated route delays/closings and specific mask requirements. You’ll be able to see transit roadblocks in advance and adjust your schedule and directions accordingly.

2. Notifications for COVID checkpoints and restrictions on driving routes

Drivers can also receive alerts about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions while on route. Any route impacted will show an alert on the directions screen once you start navigation.

3. Medical and testing facility information

Getting tested? Google Maps is offering users a helping hand to expedite the process. If using the Maps app for directions to a testing center or other medical facility, you’ll see a reminder alert outlining facility guidelines and prompting you to verify eligibility in advance. This is to help “avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system,” Google explains in a blog post announcing the update.

4. Crowd reports on public transit

Social distancing remains a priority for everyone. To dodge crowded buses, subway stations, train cars, and more, check Google Maps to see when certain spots are historically the busiest (then avoid those times as best you can). To do so, “simply search for a station in Google Maps or tap on the station on the map to see the departure board and busyness data, where available,” the Google announcement reads. Insights are current and informed by real feedback from previous riders.

5. Search filters to find discounted hotel rooms for COVID first responders

Essential workers looking for alternate accommodations during the pandemic (to stay close to work and safely distant from loved ones at home), use the special new search filter in Google Maps (or the Google Search bar) to find hotels offering free or discounted rooms, as well as other perks and deals, specifically for frontline heroes.




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