October 3, 2019: On Gandhi Jayanthi Day yesterday, Google Maps announced that the platform now lists over 57,000 public toilets in over 2,300 cities across India. The initiative was launched in 2016 as a pilot in three cities -- New Delhi, Bhopal, and Indore -- in collaboration with the Swachh Bharat Mission and Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.
Says Anal Ghosh, Senior Program Manager, Google Maps: “With Google Maps, our aim has always been to help people as they navigate and explore the world, wherever they are. And we believe that making information about public sanitation facilities easily accessible to people is a key element for social good -- one that also constitutes the cornerstone of the government's Swachh Bharat campaign to promote clean habits and hygiene.”
He adds: “We have a long history of making Google Maps more relevant, accurate, and reliable for Indian users with India-first solutions such as two-wheeler mode and offline Maps. For this campaign, our product and engineering teams together built a new process seamlessly integrate toilet listings into Google Maps seamlessly. We have worked closely with the Ministry to update Maps with key information about public toilets from across India, while refining our systems to accurately surface these toilets through a variety of user queries -- over 2.5 lakh users now search for public toilets every month across Search and Maps.”
Today, users can simply type ‘public toilets near me’ on Google Search, Google Assistant or Google Maps and receive results at their fingertips. In addition, the Google My Business platform helped the Ministry take ownership of these listings on Google Maps so they could monitor visits, ratings, reviews and more, thereby gaining valuable insights that could help them take necessary action to maintain and upgrade toilets.
Google Maps’ active Local Guides community continues to share feedback on toilets in their locality. Late last year, Google Maps ran a campaign to spur awareness and adoption that resulted in 32,000 reviews, photos, and edits being added to public toilets across India by Local guides.
This YouTube Video features a video on this Google Maps feature and an interview with Chetan Krishnaswamy, Director, Govt Affairs and Public Policy, Google India