Amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russia, Google has almost entirely disabled the country’s live traffic data from being visible in Google Maps.

As reported by Reuters, Google has confirmed the temporary disabling of the core Google Maps feature. The decision to disable live traffic was made in collaboration with local authorities, and it was done to protect communities.

Typically, Google Maps makes it easy to see how crowded particular stores and restaurants are, as well as which streets are experiencing heavy traffic. This information is used both to help navigate around heavy traffic and to show which areas may be too busy to visit.

However, some had found Google Maps to be a potential tool for observing vehicle moments in and around Ukraine. Just hours before Russia began its military actions in Ukraine, Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of Middlebury Institution of International Studies was able to spot a “traffic jam” near the Ukrainian border on Google Maps that was almost certainly caused by a convoy of Russian vehicles on the move.

Notably, the live traffic information is only being hidden in most parts of the various Google Maps apps. For those within Ukraine who are simply trying to navigate safely from one place to another, Google Maps still shows and incorporates traffic information for its driving directions.

It’s not clear at this time when Google will resume this particular service within the country.

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Kyle Bradshaw

Kyle is an author and researcher for 9to5Google, with special interests in Made by Google products, Fuchsia, and Stadia.

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