Google is soon updating its Maps app to indicate if a searched location is wheelchair accessible. The new features makes using the app easier for people with disabilities, as well as parents with strollers and the elderly. Users can see if a location is wheelchair accessible by clicking on the description and looking under the amenities tab. However, the feature is currently not available for all locations. The new feature was developed by a team lead by Google Drive product manager Rio Akasaka. Also Read - Google's offline dinosaur game in new Olympics avatar: Here's how to can playAlso Read - Best camera phones under Rs 35000 to buy in July 2021: Pixel 4a, Mi 11X, and more
Reportedly, Akasaka and his team spent almost a year working to develop this feature for the app. He collected information on accessibility from users of Google s Local Guides, who contribute information about locations in exchange for access to beta features and free Google Drive storage. The new accessibility feature was only added after Google had collected months of data from its users. Also Read - Timex Helix Smart 2.0 with temperature sensor, heart rate sensor launched: Details here
Quite interestingly, this feature is an outcome of Google s famous 20 percent time policy. In the 2004 IPO letter, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had highlighted the idea behind the policy saying, “We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20 percent of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google.”. “This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner.” Some very important Google products have been a result of the 20 percent policy, which includes the development of Google News, Gmail, and even AdSense. ALSO READ: Google Maps new feature shows you nearby traffic status in real-time
“Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” Akasaka says. He said he wants to make sure that “even those with access needs” benefit from Google Maps.
Not long ago, Google had also updated the app to show real-time traffic updates. The new feature, called Traffic Nearby , is a shortcut that allows users to locate congested areas around their current location with a single tap. All that one needs to do is add the shortcut to their home screens, and every time they run the shortcut, based on their location, real-time data will be provided. It displays congested roads and areas and works without having to enter a destination or get into the driving mode. It basically offers what can be called a preview of traffic, before you plan your outing. ALSO READ: Google Drive update makes iPhone to Android switch easier; here s how it works
The new Traffic Nearby feature comes close on the heels of Google s recent update that allowed users to connect the Google Calendar app with the mapping service. With this feature, events that are updated on the Calendar app are synced with Google Maps and one can easily access the directions of their saved events.