Google has planned to publicly release the data of the people’s movements during the coronavirus pandemic, which it had already collected.
The tech giant wants to publish a series of “Community Mobility Reports” to show the types of places the people are visiting across 131 countries and regions.
According to a blog post by the company, it hopes that tracking the movement trends over time and by geography would be helpful to inform governments’ and public health officials’ in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first report was published on Friday and the reports contain data from two to three days earlier. The report helps to show how people are behaving and responding to social distancing. The reports are categorized country-wise and then by region, and it shows whether the people are going to grocery stores, pharmacies, parks, workplaces etc. It also indicates how busy these places were before the pandemic.
These reports are created with aggregated, anonymized sets of data from users who have the location history setting turned on which is usually set off by default in Google’s services.
However, the company assured that they would not release any information that could lead to identify the users, such as individual location or contacts.
Google believes that besides other resources which the public health officials have; these reports will help them make decisions on how to manage the pandemic. This information will help the officials to know about the changes in essential trips.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic millions of people are now living under restrictions and lockdowns. The idea of releasing location data however has raised privacy concerns among people.