Google Maps will use crowdsourcing to identify wheelchair-accessible locations

Search Engine Watch

Google Maps has rolled out a new editing feature that crowdsources accessibility details about locations or business listings — making it possible for anyone to add details on whether or not a place is wheelchair-accessible.

“When you want to share accessibility information about a place or add details about many places quickly, just open Google Maps on Android,” product managers Shiva Thiagarajan and Rio Akasaka advise on the Google Maps Blog. “Open the main menu, and then tap ‘Your contributions.’ Tap ‘Uncover missing info’ and sort by ‘Accessibility’ to find places around you that are missing this kind of information.”

Google offers four different accessibility descriptors to select from: wheelchair-accessible entrances, wheelchair-accessible elevators, wheelchair-accessible seating and wheelchair-accessible parking.

According to the announcement, you can find wheelchair-accessible details for a location on Google maps desktop and mobile, as well as Google search on mobile, by tapping the two-line description under a location’s name and scrolling down to the accessibility section.

This update follows the shutdown of Map Maker in November of last year; Map Maker was a crowdsourcing tool that let users edit geolocations and business listings in Google Maps and Google Earth.

Google said it was retiring its Map Maker product to streamline the editing process by integrating it directly into Google Maps. While many saw it as a way to curb the unwanted spam in Google Maps, others fear the move will allow spammers to remain anonymous while still making edits via the “suggest an edit” tab in Google Maps and business listings.

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