Alphabet Inc’s Google (GOOGL) said on Monday that is planning to introduce additional features on its Maps navigation app to alert users of COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The new Google Maps features, which will be available on Android and iOS in coming weeks, are tailored to help users find information if they need to venture out, whether it’s by car or public transportation. The alerts are intended to help users plan their trips accordingly if government mandates impact bus and train services or require wearing a mask on public transportation.
Public transit alerts on COVID-19 restrictions are rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, the U.K. and the U.S.
“Because of COVID-19, it’s increasingly important to know how crowded a train station might be at a particular time or whether the bus is running on a limited schedule,” said Ramesh Nagarajan, Product Management Director at Google Maps. “Having this information before and during your trip is critical for both essential workers who need to safely navigate to work and will become more important for everyone as countries around the world begin to reopen.”
In addition, Google Maps is also introducing driving alerts to notify users about COVID-19 checkpoints and restrictions along a route, for example when crossing national borders starting first in Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
Furthermore, when navigating to medical facilities or COVID-19 testing centers, Google Maps will display alerts reminding users to verify eligibility and facility guidelines to avoid being turned away or causing additional strain on the local healthcare system. Starting this week, alerts for medical facilities will be available in Indonesia, Israel, the Philippines, South Korea, and the U.S.
Shares in Google have surged 37% since dropping to a low in March erased all of their losses suffered earlier this year. The stock rose less than 1% to $1,440.77 in early afternoon trading on Monday.
In view of the recent rally, the stock’s upside potential is now expected to be more limited. The average analyst price target of $1,488.09 indicates shares may advance a mere 3.3% in the coming 12 months. (See Alphabet’s stock analysis on TipRanks)
Overall, the Wall Street rating outlook for Google remains bullish. The Strong Buy consensus boasts 33 Buy ratings versus 2 Hold ratings.