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Friday, March 1, 2024

Google Tracking Travel Movements During COVID-19 Pandemic

Google is publicly tracking people’s travel movements over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. The tech firm is publishing details of the types of places people are traveling to for more than 130 countries, including the United States.

Google’s Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. No personally identifiable information, such as an individual’s location, contacts or movement, will be made available at any point.

Insights in these reports are created with aggregated, anonymized sets of data from users who have turned on the Location History setting, which is off by default. People who have Location History turned on can choose to turn it off at any time from their Google account and can always delete Location History data directly from their timeline.

The reports should not be used for medical diagnostic, prognostic, or treatment purposes. They are also not intended to be used for guidance on personal travel plans.

The latest available report for the United States records a 47% decrease in non-essential retail and recreation related travel, while grocery and pharmacy retail travel has fallen 22%. Work related travel has seen a 38% reduction, with the biggest decrease recorded for travel to and from transit hubs at 51%. The smallest reduction, 19%, is for travel to and from parks, beaches and public gardens.

View the latest mobility reports at Google

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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