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Google unveils new accessibility tools for Maps

Google has rolled out new accessibility features and updates on Maps, Search, and Chrome to help people accomplish daily tasks faster and easier.

A new identity attribute for the disability community is now available on Google Maps and Search, giving customers more details about a business and providing merchants an option to self-identify as a member of the community. 

“This update builds on our existing business attributes, including Asian-owned, Black-owned, Latino-owned, LGBTQ+ owned, veteran-owned, and women-owned,” said Eve Andersson, senior director, of Products for All at Google.

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The lens in Maps (formerly known as Search with Live View) uses AI and augmented reality to help people use their phone’s camera to orient themselves in an unfamiliar neighborhood and discover new places.

To make this more accessible and useful for people who are blind or low-vision, screen reader capabilities in Lens in Maps will be coming to iOS starting Tuesday, and to Android later this year. 

“With the option to request wheelchair-accessible walking routes rolling out globally on iOS and Android wherever we have data available, you can get stair-free routes when you request walking directions in Maps,” said Andersson. 

This feature builds on the wheelchair-accessible transit navigation option in Maps that shows people step-free transit routes. Earlier this year, Google made it easy for everyone to find wheelchair-accessible places on Google Maps for Android and iOS. 

Now, the company is starting to bring that information to business and place pages on Maps for Android Auto and cars with Google built-in. 

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