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After China, Belgium to have “text walking lines”

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'Text walking lane' in Antwerp (June 2015)

By NewsGram Staff Writer

Temporary “text walking lanes” have been allotted to people using their phones in the center of the Belgian city of Antwerp, as a step to avoid accidents due to collision.

The initiative which is being looked upon as a publicity stunt is the brainchild of a smartphone store based in the city. It says that a significant number of mobile phone breakages happen because of “text walking” collisions.

“You probably walk through the streets while texting or sending WhatsApp messages to your friends and don’t really pay attention to your surroundings – only to whatever is happening on your screen,” a spokesman for Mlab, a smartphone laboratory based in Antwerp, was quoted by Yahoo News as saying.

“This causes collisions with poles or other pedestrians. You could, unknowingly, even be endangering your own life while you ‘textwalk’ when you cross the street without looking up.”

As of now, the concept of these lanes has been applied on a temporary basis. Officials, however, say that they’re most likely to be made permanent.

Belgium isn’t the first place to have adopted this idea. Before this, the city authorities of  Chongqing, China, had designated a 30 meter (100 foot) “cellphone lane” in 2014 to tackle the problem of distracted walking.

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Google Maps: India Based ‘Two-Wheeler’ Feature Launched to Whole Asia

The new travel mode in Google Maps is seen alongside Drive, Train or Bus and Walk alternatives.

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Google, while announcing this at an event in Thailand, did not elaborate when this option would be available on iOS devices as well as reach Western markets. Pixabay

The “two-wheeler mode” in Google Maps that first arrived in India last December has been extended to Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

To be first available for Android users, the motorcycle-specific navigation will help bikers find the most suitable routes in these countries, The Verge reported late on Thursday.

“The goal is for drivers to read through the directions first to help memorise the path before they start navigating, especially since these countries tend to contain roads and alleyways without actual names,” the report said, quoting Krish Vitaldevara, Google Maps’ Head of Product.

Google, while announcing this at an event in Thailand, did not elaborate when this option would be available on iOS devices as well as reach Western markets.

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In December, Google incorporated navigation routes for two-wheelers with Voice Assistant capabilities in its Maps feature in India.

In December, Google incorporated navigation routes for two-wheelers with Voice Assistant capabilities in its Maps feature in India.

The new travel mode in Google Maps is seen alongside Drive, Train or Bus and Walk alternatives.

“The India-first feature is the new “two-wheeler mode” in Google Maps. India is the largest two-wheeler market in the world, and the millions of motorcycle and scooter riders have different navigation needs than drivers of automobiles,” Caesar Sengupta, Vice President, Next Billion Users Team at Google, had said during the launch.

Also Read-Google Rolls out ‘Maps’ Updates Globally

Two-wheeler mode in Maps shows trip routes that use “shortcuts” not accessible to cars and trucks.

It also provides customized traffic and arrival time estimations. (IANS)

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