Accessibility Updates—Google & Airbnb in the News

Accessibility Updates—Google & Airbnb in the News

Accessibility is an important focus in tech, and Google & Airbnb both reinforced that idea in recent announcements. Both Google and Airbnb will be updating their services to make them accessible for more people.

CNET is reporting that Google is working to make things more accessible in their transit maps. Now Google Maps will be able to show routes that are specifically accessible to people in wheelchairs. The update is live and available to use now. As CNET notes, it’s currently only available in six places, including London, New York, and Sydney, with more cities planned for the future.

If the feature is available in your city, you can access the wheelchair-accessible routes in the Google Maps app. After you’ve entered your destination and are looking at your directions, you simply choose the public transportation feature, then go to options and choose “wheelchair accessible” under routes.

In Google’s blog post, they illustrate how the routes work and how they were put together. Google was helped in building the feature by using meetups with guides to compile the information needed for their accessible routes. They’ve also updated Street View to make public transport more visible before actually getting there. In their blog post, they mention plans for expansion to other areas “in the coming months.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb has made their service more accessible, as well. Last year I wrote about Airbnb acquiring Accomable, an Airbnb-type service that focused on accessible locations. At that time, some basic accessibility search features were available on Airbnb’s website, but now there are almost two dozen search filters available to focus on accessible listings.

In Airbnb’s blog post, they outline the new search filters. According to Airbnb, people will now be able to search for listings based on a variety of different needs. They can find listings with “step-free access,” wide doorways and hallways, elevators, shower chairs, disabled parking spots, and more. Airbnb notes they’ll be focusing on making their filters better in the future, even expanding them.

With these updates to Google Maps and Airbnb, hopefully traveling will become easier for those concerned about accessibility.