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Google Maps just got a huge new update that could save your life

Google Maps has introduced a very useful new feature in the form of a COVID-19 heatmap for its mobile apps.

The new map layer, announced in a blog post by Google Maps’ product manager Sujoy Banerjee, lets you view a 7-day average of coronavirus infections per 100,000 people, and whether it’s trending up or down. The update went live on September 23, and will appear on iOS and Android devices in the coming week.

When the update has reached your device, you can try the new layer by tapping the layer icon in the top right corner of the main app screen, just below the search bar.

(Image credit: Google)

From the Layers menu that then pops up, tap “COVID-19 Info.”

(Image credit: Google)

You’ll then be able to see the color-coded map and labels with additional information Google has promised.

(Image credit: Google)

The map works at a national level in all 220 countries that Google Maps covers, but also offers state, county and city-level data in certain areas, almost certainly including the U.S. and U.K. You’re unlikely to be doing much international travel at the moment, but being easily able to track different infection rates in the next town over, or the places where your friends and family live, could prove quite handy for people needing to travel locally.

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