Friday Apr 03, 2020
Tech giant Google has released reports on social distancing and mobility pattern changes in Pakistan as well as all over the world.
Google provided the reports to help give an idea of movement across countries amid lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. The data is based on location history and might not hold for those who do not own a smartphone or didn't take it along during their trips outside home.
The search platform also cautioned that the data is not "intended to be used for guidance on personal travel plans” and should not be used for “medical diagnostic, prognostic and treatment purposes”.
Google said the data show trends over several weeks, with most recent data from two or three days ago.
“These reports show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline. We calculate these changes using the same kind of aggregated and anonymised data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps,” it said.
The reports showed that there was a 70% drop in visits to retail and recreation spaces compared to normal periods. The category included mobility trends for places such as restuarants, cafes, shopping centres, theme parks, museums, libraries and cinemas.
There was a 55% drop in grocery and pharmacy shopping as well.
Mobility trends depicted a decrease of 45% in visits to national parks, beaches, plazas and public gardens.
The highest drop, 62%, was seen in public’s daily form of commuting, like public transport, bus and train station visits.
Workplaces meanwhile saw a decline of 41% in terms of visits by their workers.
On the downside, there was an 18% increase in visits to residential places, homes etc.
According to Reuters, Google analysed location data from users’ smartphones in relation to their movement towards, grocery stores, and other places from around 131 countries.
Data in Google’s reports come from users who enabled Google’s “Location History” feature on their devices. The company said it adopted technical measures to ensure that no individual could be identified through the new reports.
The coronavirus has infected more than 1 million people globally, and COVID-19, the respiratory illness it causes, has killed 52,000, according to a Reuters tally. In Pakistan, as of Friday, there are more than 2,400 confirmed cases.