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Google Maps update adds new wheelchair-friendly feature - here's how to get it

Google Maps
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

A new Google Maps update is bringing a feature to aid those in wheelchairs, as it will now list accessible places within the app.

Available starting from May 21, 2020 and rolling out gradually, the new "Accessible Places" feature will be an option users will be able to turn on, "to have wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in search results and in Google Maps."

The update arrives in line with Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which aims "to get everyone talking, thinking and learning about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities."

If you opt to turn Accessible Places on, wheelchair accessible locations with be highlight by a wheelchair icon.

At launch, the new Accessible Places feature on Google Maps has accessibility information for more than 14 million places around the world.

How to get 'Accessible Places' on Google Maps

Initially, Accessible Places for Google Maps is gradually rolling out for users in Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States from May 21. Google says support for more countries is on the way, but hasn't provide a timeline or any further details.

To get wheelchair accessibility information more prominently displayed in Google Maps, follow these steps:

  1. Visit the Apple App Store (iPhone) or Google Play Store (Android)
  2. Check for a Google Maps updates - the update is rolling out gradually, so you may not see it right away
  3. Update Google Maps
  4. Open the Google Maps app on your device
  5. Go to Settings, select 'Accessibility', and turn on 'Accessible Places'

Accommodation for Covid-19 responders

(Image credit: Google)

Google has added another new feature to Maps and Search, with key and essential workers now able to search for safe, discounted accommodation in the US and UK.

It means these workers can easily find hotels with special policies for Covid-19 responders – like free or discounted rooms.

Typing in "hotels for essential workers in New York" for example, or simply "hotels in New York" will now bring up a new filter option ("Covid-19 responder rooms"), allowing you to narrow the results. 

John McCann

Global Managing Editor

John got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile. Previously Phones Editor, John now looks after the day-to-day running of the site. When he's not got his head buried in mobile tech, you'll find John sitting behind the wheel in his regular TR Drives column.