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Apple releases mobility data to assist COVID-19 efforts

With nearly two million coronavirus cases worldwide, governments across the world have put restrictions upon the movement of people to curb the spread of the respiratory infection. Earlier this month, Google released data on how the pandemic changed movement in 131 countries. Similarly, Apple has launched a site, comprising of data that would assist authorities concerned in determining how effective the lockdowns have been (via Reuters).

To generate the data, Apple took into account the number of requests made to Apple Maps for directions and compared it with previous data to find the changes in the volume of people commuting, walking or driving. The Cupertino firm said that the information is being updated on a daily basis, and compared to a date in mid-January.

The information received from users' phones is being "associated with random, rotating identifiers" so individual users cannot be tracked through the service. The website details the changes for major cities and 63 countries or regions, the firm stated. The firm is not revealing the exact number of requests or people moving, but instead, the data is expressed as a percentage of numbers to the mid-January baseline.

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