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Google Maps to show locations of COVID-19 food, night shelters in India

Google on Monday said it will now show the locations of food and night shelters on Google Maps in cities across India to help people find these essential services during the ongoing lockdown.

Google, in a statement, said it is working closely with state and central government authorities to surface the locations of these relief centres.

“To date, across 30 cities, people can now find these locations on Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant,” it added.

Users can search for ‘Food shelters in ‘ or ‘Night shelters in ‘ in any of these Google products.

The service will also be made available in Hindi soon, the statement said. Google is working to bring this service to other Indian languages over the coming weeks, as well as adding additional shelters in more cities across the country, it added.

“As the COVID-19 situation develops, we are making a concerted effort to build solutions that help people during these times of need,” Google India Senior Programme Manager Anal Ghosh said.

He added that 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.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption in people’s lives, affecting aspects like livelihood, regular access to food and transportation. Many migrant workers started moving from various cities across the country towards their home on foot.

“With the help of volunteers, NGOs, and traffic authorities, we hope to convey this important information to the affected people, many of whom may not have access to a smartphone or mobile device during this time,” he said.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also tweeted about the feature.

“Now you can use Google Maps, Search and Google Assistant to find out food shelters and night shelters near you and help a needy person. This has been developed by @GoogleIndia in collaboration with @mygovindia,” he wrote.

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