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Google launches detailed voice guidance in Maps for those with visual impairments

12 October 2019

It is now only available in English in the United States and Japanese in Japan, but the company said that support for additional languages and countries is on the way.

Google Maps is already the default choice for many when it comes to navigation, be it by auto, public transport, or on foot, thanks to the accurate instructions spoken by Google Assistant.

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In the post written by Wakana Sugiyama, a visually impaired business analyst who worked closely with Maps to build and test this accessibility feature, said: "Frequent updates like these not only help a visually impaired person get from A to B, they can also give us more confidence and reassurance when we travel alone". A new feature that gives people the ability to receive more detailed voice guidance will be rolled out to Google Maps starting today. She says that this enables people like her to experience new places without having to rely on a friend to accompany them. I obviously hope I'll never have to use the feature, but I'm sure glad it's there to help others who are about to benefit tremendously from it.

Some of the features you can expect from Google Maps includes the app proactively telling you if you're on the correct route and also the distance until the next turn you need to make. "And if I accidentally leave my route, I'll get a spoken notification that I'm being rerouted".

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In a blogpost, Sugiyama said that this feature makes the app more accessible to the 36m people who are blind worldwide, as well as the 217m people who have moderate-to-severe vision impairments.

Google released a detailed video of the procedure of using the new feature and how the voice assistant works. Google will bring support for additional languages and countries in the future. You can easily access the feature by selecting "Settings" menu in Google Maps, tapping on "Navigation" then "Walking options" and finally the 'Detailed Voice Guidance'.

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Google launches detailed voice guidance in Maps for those with visual impairments