For many of us, Google Maps is a lifesaver. With just a few taps on your mobile, it can keep you from getting lost with detailed locations. And now it’s more important for the millions of people in wheelchairs in the U.S., thanks to the 20% time work from Rio Akasaka, a Google Drive product manager, who’s working on an accessibility feature for Google Maps. From now on Google Maps will mention wheelchair accessibility when it’s available. You will find this “Wheelchair accessible entrance” in the locations “Amenities” section.
“Accessibility at Google is a big deal,” Akasaka told Business Insider. “But it’s often facilitated by whether or not there’s a legal requirement, or some sort of requirement we need to adhere to.”
20% time is quite famous to the Googlers. It lets the employees work on something else rather than their main jobs. Some of Google’s biggest services, including Gmail, Google News, and AdSense started as 20% projects. Akasaka and his team have spent the last year on working on adding wheelchair accessibility information on Google Maps.
Right now, this feature is only available in the U.S. based on its user input you can also expect to see gaps in coverage. It may not create a big difference in your life but could be very useful to someone using a wheelchair. And this feature is not only beneficial for a person in a wheelchair, but also for the parents with prams, people having trouble to get up stairs and so on.