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Google Leverages Location Data To Show If People Are Following Quarantine

This data can help save lives

Google is leveraging anonymized location data it usually uses to deliver targeted ads to let public health officials know if people are staying at home or roaming around the metro.

The search giant has released its COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, which should help public health officials see if people are really following quarantine guidelines and are keeping clear of retail destinations, groceries, parks, and other non-essential locations.

Based on our data, there’s a huge drop in visits to places Google has determined to be retail and recreation (-81%) since the shutdown, as well as groceries and pharmacies (-59%), parks (-59%), transit stations (-82%) and workplaces (-54%).

Google says it’ll be showing trends over several weeks, with the most recent information showing activity around 48 to 72 hours prior. As is most of the information Google provides to advertisers, there’s no identifiable information used in generating the reports, such as a person’s actual location, contacts and movement.

The reports will be available globally and cover 131 countries and regions.

You check out the report here.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

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