Google mobility reports: big data to help fight Covid pandemic

Last week Google has published the “COVID-19 Community Mobility report”. In the context of strict confinement measures, and while some governments (China above all but also Italy, France and Spain) have resorted to mobile phone data to assess whether citizens are respecting the lockdown, Google has published anonymized mobility data from a number of countries showing the effect of limitations on individual movements.

The reports use aggregated, anonymized data to chart movement trends over time by geography, across different high-level categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential. We’ll show trends over several weeks, with the most recent information representing 48-to-72 hours prior. While Google displays a percentage point increase or decrease in visits, they do not share the absolute number of visits. To protect people’s privacy, no personally identifiable information, like an individual’s location, contacts or movement, is made available at any point.

In Switzerland, for example, data are available on a national and canton basis, and they show a clear decrease in mobility patterns since the beginning of the lockdown on March 16.

What about your country or local area?

You can access all reports at



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