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Big tech firms are helping disabled people better navigate the real world

March 16, 2018

Google Maps and Airbnb both announced new services this week that aim to make life easier for people with mobility challenges.

New ways to navigate: Google Maps hasn’t historically done much to make it easier for wheelchair-reliant people (or stroller-pushing parents). This week, the firm announced that it’s starting to offer an option to show wheelchair-accessible routes that include the use of public transportation. It will initially be offered in a handful of major cities, including New York, Boston, London, and Tokyo.

Better places to stay: In a somewhat similar move, Airbnb also said this week that it added new filters to its service so people are able to search for much more specific kinds of accessibility features than they could previously. Customers will be able to check whether a property has, say, ramps, wide hallways, or roll-in showers.

Why it matters: The announcements suggest that big tech companies appear to be slowly becoming more aware of challenges facing many of their users. 

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