In the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, most countries of the world have already imposed quarantine measures and issued recommendations, urging citizens to avoid travel that is not absolutely necessary and to adopt a lifestyle that involves the state at home, almost all the time.
Responding to the requests received from the authorities, the mobile operators have already agreed to temporarily give their data on the locations and movements of the users of mobile phones, helping to outline a correct analysis on the degree of mobility of the population and, implicitly, the ability to propagate the Wuhan virus.
Joining this effort, Google contributes anonymously centralized data, cumulating the journeys of millions of Android phone users, some using Google Maps, and the rest just being “recorded” as daily trips, the routes covered appearing in the section Google Account Timeline.
Google Maps uses aggregate, anonymous data that shows how crowded certain places are. This way you can identify traffic jams or times when certain public spaces (restaurants, museums, etc.) are crowded. Health system officials believe that this type of data, aggregated and anonymous, may be useful in making critical decisions in the fight against COVID-19.
Starting today, Google publishes the first version of the reports on population mobility in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports, to provide data on changes in population mobility as a result of work from home, home isolation and other targeted policies. to flatten the pandemic curve. These reports help the authorities, while at the same time respecting Google's privacy policies. The reports on population mobility are launched globally and cover 131 countries, including Romania.
The reports use aggregated and anonymous data to highlight movement trends, over time and geographically, across different categories of places and activities, such as recreation, shopping and pharmacies, parks, transportation stations, jobs and housing. These will show trends over several weeks, with the latest data being the last 48-72 hours. The reports will show as a percentage increase or decrease the number of visits to a particular place, without showing the absolute number of visits.
Importantly, the published information has coverage in a general way, without centralizing personal identification data, such as the location of a particular individual and his movements.