Google Used Phone Location Data to Publish ‘Social Distancing’ Compliance Report

April 4, 2020

Google has published reports for 131 countries showing citizens’ compliance with guidance and orders from governments to “socially distance,” or stay at home, according to Reuters. The report is based on location data from millions of peoples’ phones running Google’s Android operating system.

The anonymized data shows how often citizens are visiting public areas like shops and parks, as well as workplaces.

Via Reuters:

Italy: Retail and recreation trips in the country, which has seen the highest number of deaths globally, plunged 94%. Grocery and pharmacy visits were down 85%, and workplace trips fell 63%. Italy has imposed severe limits on movement and shuttered all non-essential services until April 13.

Spain: Retail and recreation trips fell 94%. The country has witnessed 112,065 cases – the second-highest after the United States. Grocery and pharmacy visits slumped 76%, and workplace trips fell 64%.

United Kingdom: Retail and recreation trips slumped 85%, grocery and pharmacy visits dropped 46%, and workplace trips fell 55%. The country, which has closed public spots, has seen more than 34,718 cases, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

United States: The country has seen the most number of infections, over 245,000 people. Retail and recreation trips in the country fell 47%, grocery and pharmacy visits dropped 22%, and workplace visits fell 38%.

The full set of data can be found on Google’s dedicated new website, “COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports.”  Google says the data will only be available for a limited time, “so long as public health officials find them useful in their work to stop the spread of COVID-19.” However, anyone can download PDF versions of the reports from the website.

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