With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Google hasn’t been shy about sharing safety tips for users. In another positive change to Google Maps, the company is now showing a banner that encourages people to wear a mask when they go out.

In a server-side switch, the Google Maps app for mobile devices (possibly only Android, for now) has added a banner to the “Explore” tab. This new banner simply says “Wear a Mask. Save Lives.” It also has a neat little animation of a woman putting on her mask appropriately to cover both her mouth and nose.

Under that message, there’s a “Learn More” button which, when clicked, sends users over to Google’s COVID-19 safety tips page that’s been available for the majority of the pandemic.

This new “Wear a Mask” banner appears on Google Maps above the “Explore” section of the app, which lists nearby restaurants, bars, hotels, and attractions. It’s a good place for the message, frankly, as it gives a reminder before users leave their homes.

So far, we’ve been unable to find evidence of this banner appearing on the iOS version of Google Maps, but more interestingly, we’ve also only seen it in the United States. Our Damien Wilde in the UK doesn’t see the message on his Android device. It would be interesting to see this banner only in the US, but it wouldn’t be entirely surprising either, given the wider outbreaks in the country lately.

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Ben Schoon

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