Google has announced that they are improving the pedestrian walking directions in the Google Maps app, in order to give more details for the visually impaired.
Unveiling the new feature on World Sight Day, they explained how the new ‘Detailed Voice Guidance’ feature was designed from the ground up by, and for, the visually impaired, but also could be useful to anyone.
A YouTube video released by Google (see below) demonstrates the feature in action, although sadly the Voice Guidance is in Japanese. However, the amount of detail shown, and the way it is announced to the user is impressive. For example, in the video the woman is told in the first announcement “Head west on Roppongi Street. It’s about 80 meters to your next turn”. Then later, “Sakurada street is ahead on your route. It’s a large road. Use caution when crossing”. Finally she’s told “You’re still on the correct route. Currently heading west on Nakamise Street. It’s about 200 meters to your next turn”.
If you’ve ever felt more and more uncertain that you’re going in the right direction as your GPS stays annoyingly silent, the added detail and regular route updates such as current street names and distance to your next turn will be incredibly helpful.
The Detailed Voice Guidance feature will be available today in the United States and Japan, but roll-out to other countries is expected soon. You can enable the feature by going to the Google Maps settings and tap on Navigation. Keep swiping through the options until you hear Enable Detailed Voice Announcements.
Co-host & audio producer on the Double Tap Canada radio show. Occasional contributor to Double Tap TV, full time shed resident.