The Apple Company, along with Google, has surely come up with some of the best possible ways and solutions to help stop the spread of coronavirus across the world. Apple has released several apps in its app store to keep its users entertained during the lockdown, along with timely releasing updates and news that will help people in understanding the need for social distancing as well as promote a good and healthy lifestyle. Now the company has come up with a new update to its Apple Maps, which will be showing all the COVID-19 testing sites.
The map has been updated for all the 50 states of the country, along with Puerto Rico. As soon as you open the apple maps on your device, and search for terms related to coronavirus or COVID-19, the map will mark all the nearby COVID-19 testing sites to your current location. Other than that, even if you type for the word ‘Covid-19 Testing’ in its search bar, the maps will update you by marking the testing sites on the map. The entire algorithm and process are similar to what you may have already experienced while searching for terms like ‘shopping malls,’ “grocery shops,’ ‘salons,’ etc.
Apple maps will not only mark the locations on the map, but it will also provide you with an information card that will contain the opening hours of the testing site, the address and phone number along with the details and link to the website of the healthcare provider that is in charge of conducting the test in the center. Along with that, the Apple maps will also issue a warning to you that will read as, “COVID-19 testing may require a doctor’s referral and an appointment at the testing center”.
This new update in their Apple maps was followed by Apple launching a portal where healthcare providers, as well as hospitals, can provide their information that will be used to show and mark their testing sites on the maps. This portal was launched almost a week ago, and it received great positive reviews from users, as customers have had it very easy now to locate the nearest COVID-19 testing center to get themselves tested.
Google already implemented the marking of testing sites and hospitals for COVID-19 in the mid of April itself. But it has been observed that only a part of the results is being displayed to users by Google’s search platform. A person searching for the nearest covid19 testing center can see places marked near him only if he belongs to any place other than New Jersey, Maine, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. The Google search on its maps also had some drawbacks as it appears that it could not show as many search results on the maps, as much as Apple Maps is showing. So the Apple Company did take the lead on that.
Apple’s app for maps will show various results for a state, such as if you search for testing centers in Arizona, the app will list you and mark the places near you in Arizona. But if you do the same on Google Maps, the map will fail to show you any result for the state of Arizona. On the other hand, if you do the same search on Google’s Search Engine, the platform will mark one of two testing centers in Arizona.
Google is addressing this technical drawback, and while talking to The Verge, the Google Company mentioned that it is working on collecting more viable information about the various testing centers and will soon be showing the results on both their Google Maps as well as Google Search.
Bringing an update in the Apple Maps is not the only thing that has been achieved by Apple so far as they have also made a few updates to their mobility trends site and included a few more cities to it. Such as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Portland, and San Diego.
Both Apple and Google are currently working together on developing a coronavirus tracking app with a decentralized system. The app is under development and will be released soon for both iOS and Android.