New From Google Maps: Detailed Voice Guidance
If you haven’t heard the awesome news, in honor of World Sight Day, Google Maps has added a new feature for those of us struggling with vision loss (or for anyone, really)! It’s called Detailed Voice Guidance and it gives app users continuous verbal reminders that they’re on the correct route! It also tells the user the direction they’re going and the distance until their next turn. HOW COOL!
Directionally challenged & visually impaired
Friends, it would be impossible for me to accurately explain to you how directionally challenged I am. Turn north on what...in how many feet? And, eek! I can’t read that sign because the words are too small! I’m one of ‘those people’ we require instructions like turn left right after the big tree. And, if you pass the big tree turn around, you’ve gone too far. I often go too far and have to turn around.
Helpful for everyone
Though Google Map’s detailed voice guidance certainly isn’t going to tell me to turn left at the big tree, it does walk me through step-by-step directions with voice commands to help keep me on track. This is basically like navigation systems in cars, but for people who are walking!
Not only is this helpful for me, as a person with visual impairment, but it could really be beneficial for anyone who is walking in new territory. Going on a trip to a new place? Just walking around downtown and looking for a special place? This app can definitely help make your walk easier and more enjoyable!
How to enable the feature in the app
To enable detailed voice guidance on your mobile device, you first open up the Google Maps app. It’s important to note that the Google Maps app is not the map app that is originally installed on your mobile device. This is an app that needs to first be downloaded onto your phone or device through your app store.
After you have installed and opened the Google Maps app, you click the three lines in the top left corner to find your settings. Click settings, click navigation, scroll down and move the switch over next to ‘detailed voice guidance’ (Hear more frequent and detailed audio announcements during walking navigation) to turn it on.
Quick tip: You can also change the background color for this app while in settings if you prefer a darker map to help with your vision.
Other app features
Besides helping the user to know they’re on the correct route and when their turn is approaching, this feature also gives the user warnings if they’re approaching a large intersection to help keep them safe. If the user leaves their route on accident, the detailed voice guidance will give them a spoken notification while they are being re-routed.
More good news, detailed voice guidance is available for both Apple and Android devices!
Many of us struggling with vision loss depend on assistance to get from place to place. This new feature allows us to get assistance while still being independent.
Have you used this feature? If so, please tell us about your experience with it in the comments!
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?