Google introduces new feature to locate food, night shelters

Details of cities in T.N. in the process of being updated

Published - April 06, 2020 11:45 pm IST - CHENNAI

 Children of migrant workers with lunch bags given by Chennai Corporation at Ambattur Estate.

Children of migrant workers with lunch bags given by Chennai Corporation at Ambattur Estate.

With daily wagers, migrant labourers and homeless persons finding it difficult to sustain themselves during the lockdown, Google has enhanced its search features to locate food and night shelters in several cities across the country.

People looking for government-run or volunteer-run places, where food and shelter are available, either for themselves or to help others, can make use of the feature. A statement by Google said that people can use search terms ‘food shelters in <city name>’ or ‘night shelters in <city name>’ in Google Search, Google Maps or through Google Assistant to find the places.

However, it appeared that the details for Chennai and other major cities in Tamil Nadu were in the process of being updated, as not many results could be found.

Google said that it was planning to roll out the facility in Hindi and other Indian languages soon. Pointing out that information for 30 cities was available as of now, it said information on more cities and more shelters would be added in the coming weeks. The feature will be made available as a short cut, beneath the search bar in Google Maps.

Anal Ghosh, senior program manager, Google India, expressed the hope that volunteers, non-governmental organisations and traffic authorities would use the details to inform the affected, many of whom may not have access to smart phones or mobile devices.

Google added that it was working hard with the State and Central government authorities to source listings of food and night shelters and the information will be integrated into Google Maps, on priority, as soon as they are received.

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