Proving that there is still good in the world, a group of Google employees used their free time to create an amazing feature. And, thanks to their hard work, Google Maps will better accommodate people in wheelchairs. While the app is a godsend for many (especially those of us who don’t have a stellar sense of direction), people who use mobility aids can now use it more easily and effectively than they have in the past.
The new Google Maps feature allows users to click on storefronts and other public places, and it will let them know whether or not the locations have accessible entrances.
This information can be found in the “Amenities” section for each business.
Google offers their employees a perk that allows them to use 20 percent of their time each week to work on a project that’s unrelated to their main job — but many don’t use it because they’re swamped with other projects.
Rio Akasaka, a product manager for Google Drive who was part of the team that created the new feature, chooses to use his 20 percent time to expand accessibility features for Google products.
For the nearly one in eight Americans who live with a mobility-related disability, this new feature is a huge deal. Not only will it make everyday life easier, but it sends the important message that they deserve to have every available resource at their fingertips.