Google Maps has been ushering in new features on a regular basis and now the map is aiming to be wheelchair friendly. The maps have picked up a new feature that will tell you whether a particular location is wheelchair friendly or not. One can access this information by tapping on location summary (by tapping on the right arrow mark) and then scrolling down to “Amenities.” Just like the other fields if the place is accessible for folks with wheelchair the check mark next to “Wheelchair accessible entrance” will be marked. Google Maps currently displays certain information about the venues including opening times, reviews, ambiance, whether they serve liquor and also how busy the place is.
Google Project manager Rio Akasaka has been leading the accessibility features on the Google Maps and as with most of the other features, the credit for accessibility goes to the Local Guides who usually take part in a questionnaire and answer questions about the place that they just visited. Also, in the case of Restaurants and cafes, Business owner will have the right to add this bit of information. Google has been collecting the data on WheelChair accessibility from quite some time and now they have sufficient data to display the results on a locations info page. The idea has materialized by utilizing the 20% of work time that Google employees are allowed to spend on side projects.
That said Accessibility feature is not yet available in all the locations and as of now you Google Maps is yet to offer a search feature that will take into consideration accessible-specific parameters. I tried searching for a couple of restaurants in my neighborhood and found that the accessibility options is not yet updated for most of them. Moreover, the feature will not just help the people in wheelchairs but it will also be helpful for parents with prams and people who use a cane while moving around.