Enlarge image

Logo of Google Maps: One of the most popular map services in the world

Photo: Patrick Sison / AP

There is a lot of speculation about when Israel will launch its ground offensive in Gaza. However, several popular map services have apparently already been modified with a view to possible troop movements, as reported by the news service Bloomberg . According to the report, Google has switched off the display of real-time traffic data from Israel and Gaza for its Maps and Waze services. Apple has apparently also taken similar measures, as reported by the Israeli website »GeekTime«. The iPhone manufacturer has not yet made a statement on the subject.

A Google spokesperson, on the other hand, confirmed that changes have been made. According to Bloomberg, he said: "As we have done before in conflict situations and in response to the evolving situation in the region, we have temporarily disabled the ability to see traffic and occupancy information live out of consideration for the safety of the local population." In fact, Google had already reacted similarly at the beginning of the Ukraine war.

In the current conflict in the Middle East, online information about where many vehicles or people have gathered could provide clues to military maneuvers. According to an insider, quoted by Bloomberg at his own request without attribution, the Israeli military had contacted Google and asked for the current adaptation of the app.

According to Google, driving routes through Israel can still be accessed with Maps and Waze. The arrival time forecast, which incorporates live data, will also continue to be available. According to the information, however, it is no longer shown where there is increased traffic.

Microsoft's map service Bing Maps, an alternative to the services offered by Google and Apple, still offered animated data on the current traffic situation in Israel on Tuesday morning. However, it is unclear whether this will remain the case in the long run.

mbö