accessibility, Buzz, Google, Google Maps, social good, Wheelchair Users

Google launches campaign to make Maps more accessible for wheelchairs

Google wants to make it easier for people with wheelchairs to get around using Maps, so the search giant is asking its massive user base for some help.  

Maps is launching a new initiative to encourage its Local Guides community to update locations around the world with new, detailed information about accessibility. Maps users can answer five simple questions about a site (for example, “Is there a wheelchair-accessible entrance?”), and the answers will be visible in the Map results afterward. 

The plan was outlined in a new blog post by Maps engineer Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, who uses a wheelchair. Maps began including accessibility information for specific locations late last year, but the new campaign looks to bring the general public in on the efforts.

Adding the info is simple. Just make sure your app’s Location History is on, then head to “Your contributions” on the upper-left menu. Next, select “Answer questions about a place” and indicate whether businesses you’ve visited are wheelchair-friendly. 

If those directions weren’t clear, you can check out this guide, or just watch the GIF below: 

Android users can actively search for places that need to be updated with the accessibility info to make sure that everywhere in their area is covered.

Google is also launching a new YouTube series, Rolling On, to highlight accessibility issues for around the world. The first two episodes have already posted, giving the wider world a closer look at the challenges people using wheelchairs face as they navigate life in Chicago and Indonesia.

Google will hold meetups for Local Guides to answer questions about wheelchair accessibility throughout the month of September to promote the initiative, too. Hopefully with all this attention, the effort will gain even more support.

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