Google Maps will show COVID-19 travel alerts, crowdedness predictions

• “New transit alerts show you when your trip is likely to be affected by COVID-19 restrictions” • “Safely avoid crowds on public transit”

“In our latest release of Google Maps on Android and iOS, we’re introducing features to help you easily find important information if you need to venture out, whether it’s by car or public transportation,” says Google Maps Product Management Director Ramesh Nagarajan in a blog post announcing some new COVID-19 features for the navigation app. Read the rest

Blind engineer designs "smart," obstacle-detecting, haptic feedback cane

"This innovative cane includes a built-in speakers, voice assistance, Google Maps, a Bluetooth system that makes syncing to other devices possible, and high-end sensors that alerts the user through vibrations when above-chest-level obstacles are within proximity--something a regular cane cannot provide."

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Image: WeWALK Facebook Page Read the rest

Waze's Cookie Monster voice is the only thing keeping me sane right now

Back in the summer of 2019, the Waze map navigation app announced a partnership to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street. Read the rest

Google Maps pulls feature that shows how many mini-cupcakes it takes to walk somewhere

Responding to complaints from people with eating disorders, Google quickly shuttered a test feature from the iOS version of Google Maps that showed how many mini-cupcakes' worth of calories it would take to walk somewhere.

From BuzzFeed:

While Google might think this feature encourages healthy habits, for some, it feels, well, judge-y. And it could be very a negative (or even triggering) experience for people who have an eating disorder. As many as 30 million people in the US are estimated to have an eating disorder.

And although this new Maps feature might sound similar to how some restaurants are required to show calorie counts on menus, this is more aggressive. It doesn't just show you the calorie count of the potential walk, it shows you what it amounts to in junk food – and in cupcakes, a type of food that is particularly associated with women.

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