Google Maps has now begun to indicate the locations of food shelters and night shelters in cities across India. The aim is to help scores of labourers across cities and towns, whose livelihood and regular access to food have been severely affected during the current lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The transport was also hit during the lockdown, causing millions of migrant workers to start their journey from various cities towards their home on foot.
Google is working closely with the state and the central governments to show the locations of these relief centres on the various services offered by the company. To date, people can find locations across 30 cities on Google Maps, Search, and Google Assistant by simply searching for ‘Food shelters in
Google said that it will also add additional shelters in more cities, and it’s also working to bring this feature in other Indian languages over the coming weeks. Since the feature is only available in English as of now, its reach will be limited. It is also possible that many of those who need such service may not have access to a smartphone or mobile device during this time. In that case, Google is taking the help of volunteers, NGOs, and traffic authorities to convey information about shelters to the affected people.
In the coming days, the feature will become even easier to access via quick-access shortcuts that will appear beneath the search bar on the Google Maps app, shortcuts on Google Maps on KaiOS feature phones, and food and night shelter pins on the map by default when the Maps app is first opened.
‘As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are making a concerted effort to build solutions that help people during these times of need. 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,’ Anal Ghosh, Sr. Program Manager, Google India, said in a statement.
Also, Maps will be able to help those who depend on restaurants for their daily meal. Google has added shortcuts to Maps so that people do not have a hard time in searching for restaurants that are delivering food in these times of crisis. People can now find two new shortcuts – ‘takeaway’ and ‘delivery’ – on Google Maps mobile app. They appear alongside the shortcuts for restaurants, chemists, petrol, ATM, etc.
Tap either of them to see the available delivery and takeaway options. You cannot order food from Maps because the delivery apps are not integrated with Maps. What you can do is find a restaurant and order food from delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato.