Google Maps adds accommodation finder for medical staff
Google is aiming to make it easier for medical workers to find free or discounted hotel rooms by introducing a special feature on Maps.
A number of hotels across the country have been offering up their rooms to NHS staff, in a bid to reduce risks such as their use of public transport or taking coronavirus home to a vulnerable member of their family.
Healthcare professionals, first responders and other essential workers will be able to use a new filter in Google Maps, as well as through the main Google search, to help them find available accommodation.
The tech giant said it is working with partners including Choice Hotels International, Hilton, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, as well as the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
Other hotels offering special rates are being encouraged to add themselves via Google My Business.
The feature is launching in the UK and US first, though Google hopes to roll it out in other countries “as soon as possible”.
From Thursday, Google is also adding a new Accessible Places option, to give greater wheelchair accessibility information to users.
With Accessible Places switched on, a wheelchair icon will appear to show places with an accessible entrance, displaying details such as accessible seating, toilets and parking.
If it’s confirmed that a place does not have an accessible entrance, that information will also be shown on Maps.
Accessible Places is rolling out to the UK, US, Australia and Japan, before other countries are added later.