We have all, at one time or another, been desperate to use the toilet. However, in many countries, this isn’t a problem, as there are more than enough toilets to go around. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in parts of India, which has motivated Google to act.
India has a bit of a sanitation problem. This is because roughly 70 percent of Indian households don’t have any access to a toilet. Which means people are literally forced to do their business in the street. This is far from ideal, and a problem in need of fixing.
Enter Google, which, according to the International Business Times, has created a tool designed specifically to help Indians find a clean toilet. The key component is, of course, Google Maps, with the locations of clean toilets now marked on the map in the same way as restaurants, shops, and parks.
Google’s toilet locater will initially be available in Delhi, with a short pilot program starting this month. Residents just need to search in Google Maps for toilet, lavatory, or any of the Hindi language equivalents, and the locations of the nearest clean toilets in public places such as malls, hospitals, and gas stations will appear on the map.
Crowdsourcing the Cleanliness of Toilets
Google has created this toilet location tool in partnership with India’s Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD). After its short pilot in Delhi, MoUD will be collecting feedback from users before hopefully expanding its availability beyond the metropolitan area.
A MoUD spokesperson said:
“The system being put in place relies heavily on crowdsourcing, with people’s feedback helping fuel it. Therefore, if a person finds that a toilet is not clean, he or she can give it a bad review or rating, the facility for which is available on Google Maps.”
This is such a simple idea, but one which could improve the lives of millions of people. So much so that I personally hope Google expands this into other countries too. After all, the need to find somewhere to pee or poo is something we all share. Yes, even the Queen of England.
Have you ever been caught short in public? Would you find a toilet location tool a useful addition to Google Maps? If you live in India, is the situation as dire as is being painted? Or is this much ado about nothing? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Nathan Foster via Flickr