Google is working with researchers in Europe to track the spread of the coronavirus using troves of location data gathered from smartphones.The search engine giant is collaborating with academics from the University of Southampton in the U.K., who in turn are working with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, according to several people involved in the project.The location data, which Google collects from location-enabled apps such as Google Maps, has been shared with the researchers in an aggregated and anonymized format. It can’t be used to track an individual person; rather, it shows broad patterns of movement across entire countries over periods of time, according to the people.The data is helping researchers analyze the relationship between travel patterns and transmission rates of the virus within different countries, according to the people, while also providing insight into the effectiveness of lock downs in European countries.“We are looking at inner-city movement across the EU and what it means for controlling Covid-19,” said Nick Ruktanonchai, an infectious disease epidemiologist and lecturer at the University of Southampton. “With the location data, we are testing different scenarios and simulating what might happen if countries don’t end their lock downs… Read full this story
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