14 Oct 2019
Google Maps Adds Voice Guidance Functionality For Vision Impaired People
Google Maps rolled out at last week's World Sight Day a new feature that gives people the ability to receive more detailed voice guidance and new types of verbal announcements for walking trips. This feature is the first in Google Maps to be built from the ground up by, and for, people with vision impairments.
With this feature, one can navigate the city streets with more comfort and confidence. Google Maps proactively lets you know that you are on the correct route, the distance until your next turn and the direction you are walking in. As you approach large intersections, you get a heads-up to cross with added caution. And if you accidentally leave your route, you’ll get a spoken notification that you are being re-routed.
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. With detailed voice guidance in Google Maps, your journey fades into the background and you can focus more on what you’ll do at your final destination. While this new feature can be enormously helpful to people with visual impairments, it can also help someone who wants a more screen-free experience on their next walking trip. Similar to the announcements you might hear at crosswalks or on a bus, everyone can benefit from it. Not everyone will need this level of assistance, but it’s great to know it’s available and only a tap away.
Detailed voice guidance for walking navigation is available on Android and iOS in English in the United States and Japanese in Japan, with support for additional languages and countries on the way.