Google Maps updates some features to help with the holidys and the pandemic

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Normally at this time of the year, you’ll see features from apps and services that will help you deal with all the holiday craziness. But with a lot of us probably spending them at home, we’re seeing different kinds of new and hopefully helpful features to help us deal with the pandemic as well as what we can do to keep safe if we’re still traveling. Google Maps is now rolling out some improvements to its already existing features to help with your travel and dining decisions.

The COVID layer that you can see on the Maps to see more information about cases in the area is undergoing a slight but useful improvement. You’ll now get all-time detected numbers as well as local guidelines, testing sites, and other restrictions to expect in that particular place. This will help you make better decisions whether or not to go there or if you do decide to go, you’ll know what to expect and prepare for it.

If you’re taking public transport, another important Google Maps feature you can use is live crowdedness information. They’re now rolling it out to more users and territories so you can see how crowded your bus, train, or subway line is. The information comes from real-time live feedback from other Google Maps users. This can help you make decisions on whether or not to take public transport currently.

You will also now see the live status of your delivery or takeout if you live in the following countries: US, Canada, Germany, Australia, Brazil, and India. If you book through Google Maps, you’ll know when to pick up your food or when to expect your delivery to arrive. You will also see other information like estimated wait time, delivery fees, etc. Eventually, they will also give reservation status in 70 countries.

Lastly, the Google Assistant Driving Mode is now rolling out an early preview of the improved version. You can send and receive voice calls and texts, review new messages from various messaging apps, get it to read out your texts, and alert you to an incoming call. You can also play media from supported apps. You don’t have to leave your Maps navigation screen for all of this to happen. Just enable Driving Mode on your Google Assistant and you’re good to go.

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