The reports are available to all users in 131 countries, and in some regions, you can search for regional state and county data. Once a region is selected, Google will generate the report in a PDF form that’s easy to share with workers in the field, the company said.
The reports cover six categories, including retail and recreation (restaurants, museums, shopping centers, etc.), grocery and pharmacy, parks (including beaches, marinas, etc.), transit stations, workplaces and residences.
Here in France, as shown in the top image, there has been a massive decline in movement to most categories — up to 88 percent — with a 56 percent drop in workplace travel and an 18 percent increase in people staying at home. That’s down to a government mandated lockdown (confinement) that prohibits any unnecessary travel, with penalties ranging from fines up to 1,500 euros and even prison time for extreme recidivists.
In California, which has implemented some of the strictest confinement rules in the US, we see a drop of just 50 percent in retail and recreation zones. Those rules are still essentially self-enforced, however, which could explain why France has started flattening its infection curve, while the US curve is a rocket ship traveling straight up.
Other mobile ad companies are also sharing similar data with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), according to the WSJ. However, Google has access to massive amounts of anonymized location data, and reportedly created the reports to help public health officials prioritize regions based on need.
Location tracking has been used by nations like Korea and Taiwan to track movements of quarantined and healthy citizens. However, such actions are of limited use alone. Those countries have also been testing a high percentage of their populations and implementing stricter social distancing rules as well.
On top of the reports, Google said its also collaborating with epidemiologists to created an updated dataset of anonymized aggregated data, “to better understand and forecast the pandemic,” the company said.
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