The internet company confirmed the move on Sunday, February 27, after Russian troops descended upon major cities in Ukraine under Vladimir Putin’s orders on February 24.
Google Maps usually provides up to date traffic information and even goes as far as providing information on the popularity of shops and restaurants at any given time.
This information creates a threat to those trying to evacuate from conflict, and may expose high traffic routes people are taking.
After consulting with sources including regional authorities, Google decided to globally disable these features to prevent people from accessing information about Ukraine for the safety of local communities.
Prior to Google disabling the features, open source intelligence (OSINT) expert Jeffrey Lewis appeared to use traffic data to spot Russian troops making their way into Ukraine after Putin’s announcement of the ‘special military operation’.
According @googlemaps, there is a “traffic jam” at 3:15 in the morning on the road from Belgorod, Russia to the Ukrainian border. It starts *exactly* where we saw a Russian formation of armor and IFV/APCs show up yesterday.
Someone’s on the move. pic.twitter.com/BYyc5YZsWL
— Dr. Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) February 24, 2022
This conflict is proving to be one of the most technologically advanced we’ve seen in history.