Google highlights new Maps updates for a COVID-safe holiday season

Google Maps
Google Maps (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google is rolling out a new Trips tab to Maps, allowing you to see all the holidays you've taken in the past.
  • Google Photos also now has the same Timeline view Maps offers.
  • Search and Travel aren't left out either, users will be able to see which hotels are making use of enhanced cleaning protocols in light of the pandemic.

Traveling for Christmas is going to be complicated depending on where you are and where you want to go. International travel is likely to be right out, and intranational travel is going to be heavily dependent on the restrictions in place in your country.

Google is rolling out an update to Maps that recognizes this new reality. You may not always be able to travel, but you'll be able to scroll back and see all the places you've been to over the years. You'll need to have had location history enabled for obvious reason, but if so, the company has added a new "Trips" view to the Timeline feature in Maps. Google is also adding this new Timeline feature to Photos. The new Photos app it debuted a few months ago already has its own interactive map view, Google's just adding Timeline to that map view so you don't have to use Maps for that. It's rolling out within the coming weeks.

Other than that, Google has rolled out a couple of updates for users who are willing and able to travel. There's a new COVID-19 layer in maps, allowing you to see how severe infections are in your destination in a view that's color-coded for your convenience. Maps will also warn you about Covid-19 checkpoints and alerts from local transit authorities where necessary. If you need to wear a mask on a train or a taxi, Maps will pop up an alert.

Finally, when viewing hotels or other temporary accommodation in Google Search or Google Travel, you'll now be able to see what health and safety precautions the hotel or guesthouse is carrying out.

Michael Allison