San Francisco: Google has announced that people can now turn on an "Accessible Places" feature to have wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps.
When ‘Accessible Places' is switched on, a wheelchair icon would indicate an accessible entrance, and people would be able to see if a place has accessible seating, restrooms or parking.
The ‘Accessible Places' feature is rolling out for Google Maps users in Australia, Japan, the UK and the US, with support for additional countries on the way.
"If it's confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, we'll show that information on Maps as well," Google said on the occasion of Global Accessibility Awareness Day.
There are at least 130 million wheelchair users worldwide.
Today, Google Maps has wheelchair accessibility information for more than 15 million places around the world.
"That number has more than doubled since 2017 thanks to the dedication of more than 120 million Local Guides and others who've responded to our call to share accessibility information," said the company.
In total, this community has contributed more than 500 million wheelchair accessibility updates to Google Maps.
Store owners have also helped, using Google My Business to add accessibility information for their business profiles to help users needing stair-free access find them on Google Maps and Search.
"In this time of COVID-19, it's especially important to know before you go so that you won't be stranded outside that pharmacy, grocery or restaurant," said Google.
To get wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps, update the app to the latest version, go to Settings, select "Accessibility," and turn on "Accessible Places."
The feature is available on both Android and iOS.
Google said it is rolling out an update that allows people using iOS devices to more easily contribute accessibility information, joining the millions of Android users who have been sharing this type of information on Maps.