Google has started rolling out updates to its Maps app to better support information needed by wheelchair users and to provide additional support to disability groups that may find it difficult in busy or noisy environments.
Originally announced at is Google I/O 2021 event, Google announced that it is rolling out expanded street information to 50 cities. This expanded street detail includes road widths to scale, footpaths, zebra crossings, urban trails and pedestrian islands. According to Liz Reid, vice president of Google Search, this information would be critical for wheelchair users.
In addition, a new Area Busyness feature that is also being rolled out will help people with disability that find it difficult to navigate busy areas and people that find it difficult to be in noisy areas as it allows data to be received in real-time about how busy a particular area is, allowing the user to plan when it will be easiest to visit.
CFA Australia CEO Dr Scott Hollier stated “It’s great to see Google build on its expansive Maps feature to provide even more benefits to people with disability.”
The additional cities are in the process of being integrated into the Google Maps app. Other helpful features includes improvements to natural language translation which is a continued evolution of Google’s translation work.
Google also will tailor Maps to highlight the most relevant places based on times of day and whether the users are traveling.