October 10th was World Sight Day, an annual awareness day on the second Thursday of October that brings global attention to blindness and visual impairment. For most of us, Google Maps offers a combination of visual maps and audible prompts, but for the visually impaired, a more comprehensive audible solution is needed. A new feature is now rolling out to provide that detailed voice guidance for trips on foot.
The updated Google Maps will now proactively ensure that you’re on the correct route, providing consistent, audible information for both the distance until the next turn and the direction you’re walking. Additional prompts, like a heads-up if you’re crossing a busy intersection or detailed rerouting information if you stray off-course, will also help the visually impaired remain safe while independent. The confidence and reassurance that this provides will make a world of difference.
Although this is targeted to the blind and visually impaired, it can also be a valuable tool for those seeking a hands-free Maps experience. To activate the feature, go to settings in Maps and tap “Navigation.” At the bottom of the list, you can enable “Detailed voice guidance” under the “Walking options” heading. The update is rolling out to both Android and iOS Maps with current support for English in the US and Japanese in Japan (additional languages and countries are on the way).