Have you ever been stuck in a situation where you are unable to locate a clean toilet near you? Well, Google may soon come to your aide in India. The search giant is said to launch a new feature dubbed ‘Toilet Locator’ which will be introduced in collaboration with the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD).
According to a new report, Google will start a pilot run of the new feature in the National Capital Region starting “some time from November 16 to November 30.” The feature will be integrated in to Google Maps and will let anyone search for a nearby toilet, just as one searches for any other place on the Maps app. The feature is reportedly being piloted under Government of India’s Swachhata Pakhwada, or Cleanliness Fortnight campaign. A MoUD official claimed that the ministry “is already in the process of rolling out this facility in the NCR region” and it will include public restrooms that are located in metro stations, malls, petrol pumps, and hospitals.
Another official who asked not to be named suggested that the process to list the available toilets in the NCR region was “almost over.” One of the official explaining the process told, “People will first need to open Google Maps, and then search for toilets near them. They can search for a variety of keywords, like toilet, lavatory, swach, swachhata, shulabh or shauchalay, and Google will point them to the nearest toilets.” According to the report, the Toilet Locator will be depending on “heavily on crowdsourcing” and will see feedback from people. This means that people will be able to rate the cleanliness of the toilet they last searched via Google Maps, or even leave a review, just as they would for any other public establishment on Google Maps.
Unfortunately, there is no word when the ‘Toilet Locator’ will be available to users across India. Though, the MoUD official stressed that “Mechanisms are in place for the facility to be scaled up, and for it to reach all the 2,041 urban local bodies (ULBs) of the country.”
Notably, this is not the first such attempt to offer help to people via an app. Earlier this year, Delhi saw the launch of Find x Toilet app that helped locate a toilet nearest to one’s current location.