Google uses location data to show mobility changes, check how people abide by social distance rules

Jordan

Published: 2020-04-03 14:07

Last Updated: 2020-04-03 16:33


Google uses location data to show mobility changes, check how people abide by social distance rules
Google uses location data to show mobility changes, check how people abide by social distance rules
Roya News Source

Google has launched a tool that  “allows people and public health in Jordan to check how well people in the country are abiding by social distancing rules.”

The new feature will be issuing a detailed, regularly updated report showing how visits to public places such as shops, restaurants, parks, pharmacies and offices are changing across the Kingdom.

These reports show how visits and length of stay at different places change compared to a baseline. Google calculates these changes using the same kind of aggregated and anonymized data used to show popular times for places in Google Maps.

Changes for each day are compared to a baseline value for that day of the week:

● The baseline is the median value, for the corresponding day of the week, during the 5-week period Jan 3–Feb 6, 2020.

● The reports show trends over several weeks with the most recent data representing approximately 2-3 days ago this is how long it takes to produce the reports.

What data is included in the calculation depends on user settings, connectivity, and whether it meets our privacy threshold. If the privacy threshold isn’t met (when somewhere isn’t busy enough to ensure anonymity) we don’t show a change for the day.

Google includes categories that are useful to social distancing efforts as well as access to essential services.

These insights are calculated based on data from users who have opted-in to Location History for their Google Account, so the data represents a sample of the users. As with all samples, this may or may not represent the exact behavior of a wider population.

Google warned that "this report shouldn’t be used for medical diagnostic, prognostic, or treatment purposes. It also isn’t intended to be used for guidance on personal travel plans."

Mobility changes report for Jordan issued on March 29, is as follows:

These reports are powered by the same world-class anonymization technology that Google uses in its products every day and that keeps people's activity data private and secure. These reports use differential privacy, which adds artificial noise to Google's datasets enabling high-quality results without identifying any individual person. These privacy-preserving protections also ensure that the absolute number of visits isn’t shared.