Apple releases mobility tracking tool to map people’s social distancing efforts

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Updated: April 15, 2020 9:36:26 am

Apple said that it built the tool to help local government and health authorities track movement in areas.

Apple has released a tool that shows how people are social distancing across the globe. This is essentially a Maps-based mobility data trends tool that shows the sheer volume of people of walking, driving, or taking public transport in a given area.

While protecting your privacy, we are sharing aggregated mobility data from Apple Maps to help public health authorities learn how people travel in their communities and to provide valuable insights to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said in a tweet.

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Data can be segregated by country or city.

Apple said that it built the tool to help local government and health authorities track movement in areas. The tool lets you filter data by country or city, allowing users visualise how and when people are moving in their cities. In India, for instance, driving is down by 83 per cent. Walking is down by 73 per cent, according to Apple data. Apple said it doesn’t associate mobility data with a user’s Apple ID, and the company does not keep a history of where a user has been.

Google recently released a similar tool using Google Maps. In the meanwhile, Facebook is also developing a tool which shows how people are moving around regions. Microsoft, on the other hand, has designed COVID-19 chatbot can screen people who are potentially infected with the novel coronavirus.

Apple and Google recently announced a partnership in which two companies will work together to provide tools that will limit the spread of coronavirus. Both companies are working on Contact Tracing tech that can help people know if they are exposed to COVID-19 via apps and Bluetooth technology.  The app lets you know if the other person you were in contact with has been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. The companies are planning to add Contact Tracing at the OS level in the coming months.

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