Google Maps has announced new improvements that would help people with vision impairment to navigate more easily.
It would offer more detailed voice guidance and new types of verbal announcements for walking trips, said Wakana Sugiyama, a business analyst in Google’s Tokyo office who was an adviser and tester for the project on Thursday.
“Frequent updates like these not only help a visually impaired person get from A to B, they can also give us more confidence and reassurance when we travel alone,” she added.
Currently, it is available in English in the US and Japanese in Japan for Google Maps on Android and iOS. The feature is for visually-impaired people.
The feature could be very helpful for those who wanted a more screen-free experience on their next walking trip.
Google Maps app for Android has received a new update where users can share their locations using Plus Codes.
Google Maps has the option to show Plus Codes since August 2015. The new change, however, is aimed to expand Plus Codes usage by allowing users to easily share their locations.
A Plus Code is essentially a digital address and it’s derived from latitude and longitude coordinates. It can be generated for any location.
“The technology to generate Plus Codes is also open source, which means the technology is easy and free to use, so anyone can see how the technology works and develop their own applications for any use case,” David Martin, Director of Program Management, Google Maps, said in a statement on Friday.
Users will be able to tap on the blue dot representing their current location and get a Plus Code for it.
Alternatively, they can long tap on a spot to put a pin on it and get a code for that.
Alongside the Plus Code, the application will also show other options including options to see nearby places, share your location and save your parking.
Once the app shows the Plus Code on the screen, one will be able to copy it just by tapping on it. Now, one will be able to share it among contacts by pasting it on apps like WhatsApp, Messages and more. (IANS)
Google on Monday said it has started showing the locations of food shelters and night shelters in cities across India on its services like Maps, to help people especially migrant workers find relief centers with ease.
The tech giant said it is working closely with state and central government authorities to surface the locations of these relief centres. “As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are making a concerted effort to build solutions that help people during these times of need,” Anal Ghosh, Senior Programme Manager, Google India, said in a statement.
“Highlighting the locations of food and night shelters on Google Maps is a step to make this information easily available to the users in need, and ensure they can avail the food and shelter services being provided by the government authorities,” Ghosh said.
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People can now find these locations in 30 cities at the moment on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant. This will soon be available in Hindi, Google said, adding that the company is working towards making the facility available in other Indian languages over the coming weeks, as well as adding additional shelters in more cities across the country.
People can also enter the above queries into Google Search, or ask their Google Assistant on smartphones or on a KaiOS device. In the coming days, it will become even easier to access this feature, with features like quick-access shortcuts that will appear beneath the search bar on the Google Maps app, shortcuts on Google Maps on KaiOS feature phones, and food and night shelter pins appearing on the map by default when the Maps app is first opened, Google said.
“With the help of volunteers, NGOs, and traffic authorities, we hope to convey this important information to the affected people, many of whom may not have access to a smartphone or mobile device during this time,” informed Ghosh.
Google Maps is also offering user location data to help public health officials spot increase or decrease of movement across high-level categories of places ï¿½ such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential areas.
Google Maps is offering user location data to help public health officials spot increase or decrease of movement across high-level categories of places — such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces and residential areas.
Health officials will be able to go to the ‘COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports’ website, pick their country and download a PDF that charts the community movements. The community mobility reports are now available for 131 countries, including India.
“Just like how people can use Google Maps to identify when a local business tends to be the most crowded, we’re using the same aggregated, anonymized data to provide high-level insights into what has changed,” the company said in a statement late Thursday.
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“We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19,” Jen Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President, Google Maps, said in a blog post.
“We’re publishing an early release of our COVID-19 Community Mobility Reports to provide insights into what has changed in response to work from home, shelter in place, and other policies aimed at flattening the curve of this pandemic,” he added.
The report will show trends over several weeks, with the most recent information representing 48-to-72 hours prior. “While we display a percentage point increase or decrease in visits, we do not share the absolute number of visits,” the company said.
In the coming weeks, the company will work to add additional countries and regions to ensure these reports remain helpful to public health officials across the globe looking to protect people from the spread of COVID-19.
This information could help officials understand changes in essential trips that can shape recommendations on business hours or inform delivery service offerings.
Similarly, persistent visits to transportation hubs might indicate the need to add additional buses or trains in order to allow people who need to travel room to spread out for social distancing. (IANS)