Coronavirus Crisis: Google Maps Now Show Public Food, Night Shelters To Help Needy During Lockdown


Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a country-wide lockdown, where a large part of the Indian population is left without the means for essentials. In this scenario, Google Maps is now listing of the public food shelters and public night shelters across 30 cities in India. The feature is currently accessible in English only, with Hindi support in development.

How To Access New Google Maps Feature

How To Access New Google Maps Feature

Users simply need to open the Google Maps app on their smartphone and search for public food shelter or public night shelters to open to a list of places they can go to. Users can also access the feature on other Google platforms like Search or Google Assistant. KaiOS-based feature phones such as the Jio Phone can also be used to find the nearest public shelter.

Also, users can simply type Food Shelter in the place of their choice to reveal the list of public shelters in the area. At the same time, Google acknowledges that most people looking for such shelters might not have access to smartphones. This is why the feature has been enabled on the Jio Phone via the Google Assistant.

"Highlighting the locations of food and night shelters on Google Maps is a step to make this information easily available to the users in need, and ensure they can avail the food and shelter services being provided by the government authorities," said Anal Ghosh, Senior Program Manager, Google India, in the statement.

Google Maps: What Next?

Google Maps: What Next?

Presently, only Jio Phones have access to this feature via the Assistant. It might further offer information about the food shelters and night shelters via the Vodafone Idea Phone service, which could further be used by those who don't have smartphones.

As part of further enhancing the feature, Google cited plans to bring access to the search feature through quick-access shortcuts that will appear beneath the search bar of the Google Maps app, shortcuts on Google Maps, and also on KaiOS feature phones. With this, the food and night shelter pins will appear on the map by default.

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