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Google adds detailed voice guidance to Google Maps for visually-impaired users

The release coincides with World Site Day.

google maps visually impaired update
Image: Google

Google Maps is the go-to guidance system for many of us, whether it is driving or walking. The Big G has been adding quite a bit to Maps in the recent months, and now there is a new update coming out that should help those who are visually impaired.

Essentially, the feature will add increased detail for walking directs. Instead of simply telling someone when to take a different street, the feature will send constant updates when you’re walking in the right direction, detailed distance information regarding upcoming turns, and alerts when approaching busy intersections and crosswalks.

Google adds increased voice guidance in Google Maps

According to Wakana Sugiyama, a business analyst for Google who is visually impaired, “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.”

To access the Google Maps feature: 

  1. Open Google Maps and head to Settings (the “Hamburger” triple-line menu on the top left)
  2. Select Navigation
  3. Near the bottom of the list, select Detailed voice guidance under Walking options

The feature was announced in a Google blog post on Thursday, which coincided with World Site Day. At present, it is only available in the US and Japan, but will be rolling out to more locations “on the way.”

What do you think? Glad to see this feature coming to Google Maps? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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