Google location data shows Filipinos are taking social distancing seriously

The power of technology
by Drei Laurel | Apr 9, 2020

If you’ve been staying at home to help flatten the curve the past few weeks, give yourselves a round of applause. Based on the data Google has provided, many of you are taking this social distancing thing pretty seriously, too. We salute you, and you deserve it.

According to location data released by Google Philippines, mobility trends across the country have nosedived since the government imposed a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine period and public transportation ban.

The baseline value used in the Google report was taken from January 3 to February 6, 2020. Compared to that period, almost all areas saw a considerable dip in activity: Activity in retail and recreation areas (restaurants, cafes, movie theaters) with -81% activity, groceries and pharmacies with -59%, parks with -59%, public transportation stations with -82%, and workplaces with -54% activity.

The only place to see an uptick in activity? Residential areas with a 26% increase. Yes, Pinoys—or at least those who have the privilege of doing so—are keeping their butts at home.

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Google, though, stresses this data shouldn’t be used as guidance on travel or medical diagnostics and is only meant to help authorities understand the public’s response to social distancing guidelines.

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“We calculate these insights based on data from users who have opted-in to Location History for their Google Account, so the data represents a sample of our users,” the company says. “As with all samples, this may or may not represent the exact behavior of a wider population, it added, also assuring the public that these are anonymized sets of data drawn from users who have turned on their location history.

You can check out the report in full here. Hopefully, you’re staying at home during this crisis. It’s the least you can do to help.

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