Google data shows you’ve been staying away from most places, like you should


We as South Africans all have the same job at this moment in time — we’re supposed to flatten the curve. Some of us do this by staying at home, others by providing essential services (you might want to keep the word ‘essential’ in mind next time you greet the folks who put in your petrol or sell you groceries, yeah?).

The majority of us are supposed to stay away from as many people as possible (what introverts call “a good week”). And, according to Google, we’re doing okay on that score. Data from the company’s Mobility report shows that folks are staying away from the places people usually gather in absolute droves.

Well done

Google tracks some of your data — we all know this. In order to use some services, like Google Maps, the internet giant asks users to enable location tracking. And most of us don’t turn it off afterwards. So Google… knows where you’ve been. And are. And where you’re headed. Not because it’s psychic, but because you put your destination into Google Maps.

And Google’s put that data together into a report charting the movement trends in South Africa from mid-February 2019 to the announcement of lockdown to just after that first stressful weekend. The reports were last updated on 2 April and only extend to 29 March but the trend is… encouraging. An 80% drop of people in traditional social gathering places, grocery stores and pharmacies have seen a 60% drop in traffic, while workplaces saw a 50% dip. Homes, obviously, went up. Yeah, Google knows where you live too.

This info, while terrible for the economy, is great for both the people of SA and the medical system that has to take care of COVID-19 victims. We’re looking out for an updated report, as soon as its available, for a better idea of the movement trends in SA. In the meantime, keep it up.

Source: Google Mobility Report (PDF)


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  1. First time I have been out since lockdown and now enough food until after.

    Well done with tracking me 🙂

  2. Pingback: Google is tracking you across hundreds of apps even when you opt you, claims lawsuit

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