Alphabet's (GOOG -1.57%) (GOOGL -1.48%) Google is making it easier for people to find takeout and delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic

Over the weekend, Google updated Google Maps to show restaurants and food purveyors that are offering those services.  Previously people could use Google Maps to find local restaurants and coffee houses, but the takeout and delivery capabilities of those properties weren't as prominently featured. 

The new feature is for both Android and iOS devices. Users of the apps now have "Takeout" and "Delivery" buttons at the top of the screen that allow users to tap on them to better highlight a list of restaurants that are open and/or offering those services. Users can order food directly through Google Maps from the businesses that are integrated into Google Maps. The update is available for users in the U.S., France, and Canada.  

Person checking map on smartphone.

Image source: Getty Images.

The move on the part of Google not only helps people find food but could bring local businesses much-needed business. With cities and states across the country sheltering in place to combat the spread of the virus, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops are taking a beating.  

In addition to making it easier for people to find open restaurants, using aggregated, anonymized data, Google Maps, in conjunction with health officials, is publishing COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports that show changes as a result of working from home, sheltering in place and other policies designed to flatten the pandemic curve. 

"In Google Maps, we use aggregated, anonymized data showing how busy certain types of places are -- helping identify when a local business tends to be the most crowded," wrote Google management in an April 3 blog post. "We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19." The reports will be published globally, initially covering 130 countries.