Thanks to a collaboration between Google and the Indian government, finding a public restroom in several Indian cities has just became easier.
Starting today, Google Maps has begun listing thousands of public toilets in India’s National Capital Region (which includes cities such as New Delhi, Noida, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad) and Madhya Pradesh.
Locating these restrooms using Maps on desktop and Android and iPhone is as simple as typing “public toilet”.
The service is available in English as well as Hindi, as it was reported to be in the works earlier. The listing on Maps also offers details such as opening hours of corresponding restrooms.
Finding a public restroom is a hard enough challenge in modern cities and India’s densely populated and poorly planned urban areas only make it tougher.
But India has another problem. Almost 60 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people still defecate and urinate in the open, according to data provided by Public Radio International.
The project is a partnership between Google and the country’s Ministry of Urban Development. “Improving sanitation is an important cornerstone of the government’s Swachh Bharat campaign for a clean India,” the company said in a press release.
“Using the key word ‘Swachh Public Toilet’, users can access 5,162 public toilets located near malls, hospitals, bus and railway stations, fuel stations, metro stations and public and community toilet complexes in the five cities in NCR and 703 in Bhopal and 411 in Indore,” the government said in a press release.
“The app also gives information about the nature of the toilet seat available, free or pay for use, working hours etc. This facility will be extended to other cities in due course,” it added.
Over the years, Google has introduced several useful features such as the option of downloading maps for offline viewing and support for local languages, in Maps to better serve the Indian market.