In a relatively quiet move, Google Maps has removed a layer from its app that showed COVID-19 hotspots.

In 2020, Google Maps added a layer to its app on mobile phones and the web that showed COVID-19 trends. The layer pulled seven-day averages of COVID cases in specific areas to show where the virus was spreading more rapidly. The feature was rolled out quickly and supported globally in all countries that Google Maps supports, as well as lower-level data where available.

As of September 2022, Google has removed this layer without a prominent announcement.

The removal was noticed by the folks at SmartDroid this week, and also confirmed on an official support page from Google. Google cites “declining usage” as the main reason for the removal, along with the wider availability of COVID-19 vaccines and other resources.

The company explains:

We launched the COVID-19 layer in 2020 to help people learn about how COVID cases were trending in an area. Since then, as people around the world have gained increased access to COVID-19 vaccines, testing, and other resources, their information needs have evolved as well.

As a result of declining usage, the COVID-19 layer is no longer available on Google Maps for mobile and web as of September 2022, but you can still find the latest helpful information about COVID-19, such as variants, vaccination, testing, prevention and more, on Google Search. You’ll also still be able to find places like testing sites and vaccine centers on Maps.

Google continues to provide data on COVID-19 through Search, Maps, and other products. Just this year, the company made a push to make it easier to obtain at-home COVID-19 tests.

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