The news: Google Maps has added a new feature that lets people see the number of covid-19 cases per 100,000 people for any given area, with a label indicating if cases are trending up or down. In a blog post, Google said the functionality will start rolling out worldwide on both Android and iOS this week. In the US the information goes down to the state and county level, but in Europe just the national figure is available for now, so the feature will be of very limited use.
How it works: You open Google Maps, click on the top right-hand corner of your screen, and click on “covid-19 info,” Google Maps product manager Sujoy Banerjee explains in the blog post. Color-coding makes it easy to see at a glance how many new cases each area is reporting.
Where’s the data from? Google says the data comes from “multiple authoritative sources,” including Johns Hopkins, the World Health Organization, health agencies, hospitals, the New York Times, and Wikipedia.
The purpose: A crucial part of coping in this pandemic has been assessing risk. The idea is that this new feature should make it easier for people to decide where it’s safe to go and assess the safety of different activities, like sending kids to school or going on vacation.
Here’s how a Twitter engineer says it will break in the coming weeks
One insider says the company’s current staffing isn’t able to sustain the platform.
Twitter’s potential collapse could wipe out vast records of recent human history
What happens when the world’s knowledge is held in a quasi-public square owned by a private company that could soon go out of business?
Twitter may have lost more than a million users since Elon Musk took over
Estimates from Bot Sentinel suggest that more than 875,000 users deactivated their accounts between October 27 and November 1, while half a million more were suspended.
Former Twitter employees fear the platform might only last weeks
An ultimatum by Elon Musk demanding "extremely hardcore" working culture appears to have backfired. Insiders fear this could spell the end without drastic changes.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.