Amid Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Live traffic layer for Google Maps, in addition to information on how busy restaurants and stores are have currently been disabled for Ukraine, quoting safety concerns for locals.
According to Google, the move will deter the invaders from gathering the Ukrainian public’s location data, though people on the ground can still use live traffic information during turn-by-turn navigation sessions.
While a necessity to safeguard civilians, the same features were also proving to be helpful to pinpoint Russian convoy locations. Note that these are most likely civilians caught in long roadblocks or traffic jams, and not Russian soldiers driving along with smartphones in their pockets.
According @googlemaps, there is a "traffic jam" at 3:15 in the morning on the road from Belgorod, Russia to the Ukrainian border. It starts *exactly* where we saw a Russian formation of armor and IFV/APCs show up yesterday.
Someone's on the move. pic.twitter.com/BYyc5YZsWL
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) February 24, 2022
Other big tech companies have also taken action against Russia, including Facebook and Tik Tok taking down Russian state media in Europe, YouTube blocking Russia’s state-owned media outlet RT from earning ad revenue and Elon Musk deploying Starlink to help Ukraninans stay connected to the internet.
Check out the full Reuters report about Google disabling live traffic features in Maps here.
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