To help public health officials understand the movement of residents around the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google on Friday released a “Community Mobility Report” based on smartphone data collection. In a blog post that day, Google said most people followed government instructions, opting for local isolation and working from home as much as possible.
“With the global pandemic, there has been a growing awareness of the importance of public health measures such as social alienation that can help mitigate the spread of the virus,” the article reads.
In the map, Google uses aggregated anonymous data to show how busy a particular area is, predicting when business esthetic places are most crowded.
对于公共卫生专员来说，这种类型的数据收集，还可帮助其作出更加关键的 COVID-19 疫情防控政策。
It is reported that the newly released Community Mobility Report covers 131 countries, and can even be consulted to the state and county level reports.
After the user selects a geographic region, Google will generate a PDF report of the collected data.
Pdfs are chosen instead of web pages because they are easier to download and share with front-line workers.
Each report covers six categories of people mobility information, including retail entertainment, mall pharmacies, Park Plaza Pier Beach, transportation hubs, office space, and residential.
In California, for example, the california sample report says that since the march of the local asylum policy, the movement of people at retail, entertainment and transportation hubs has declined sharply, while the length of time at home has increased slightly.
In addition to Google, social media giant Facebook has provided similar data to academic researchers, but it does not contain private information such as personal identities.