Google Maps Launches a New Feature for Visually Impaired People
Google Maps has now launched a new feature to help visually impaired people get to their walking destinations easily. The app will continually remind them that they’re on the right path, warn them when there’s a busy crosswalk ahead, tell them how far away their next turn is using voice navigation, and automatically point them back in the right direction if they have to stop.
The initiative was spearheaded by Wakana Sugiyama, a Tokyo-based business analyst at Google who is legally blind and uses a walking cane to move around. In a statement, she said, “Some of my most pressing concerns include knowing if I’m going the right way or if a street is safe to cross. I also frequently wonder if I missed a turn, if I’m on the correct side of the street at the right time, and of course, whether I’ve reached my destination, or if I’ve already passed it.”
Google’s blog post says the improved guidance is now available on iOS and Android, but only in English in the US and in Japanese in Japan, at the moment. The feature can While Google Map’s new feature aims to assist the visually impaired, anyone can use it. You can turn it on in Google Maps’ settings menu. The company says support for more languages and countries is “on the way.”