Google Maps was only available in English when it was launched in 2004. Over the years, it added new languages based on the number of speakers, such as Spanish and French.
According to the search engine company, over 1 billion worldwide users utilize the app daily for planning routes and finding places. With the addition of 39 languages, Google Maps now has the potential to reach up to 1.25 billion people more. The full list is as follows:
'Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Bosnian, Burmese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, Georgian, Hebrew, Icelandic, Indonesian, Kazakh, Khmer, Kyrgyz, Lao, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Malay, Mongolian, Norwegian, Persian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Swahili, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Vietnamese, and Zulu,' as stated in Google's blog post.
Most of the added languages were chosen according to the percentage of the population that speaks it. For example, Turkish is spoken by 9 percent of Europe and Afrikaans is spoken by about 13.5 percent of the population of South Africa.
The Google Maps update is available on iOS and Android as well as in the desktop version in Windows and MacOS.
Google Maps March Update Includes Wheelchair Accessible Routes
Earlier this March, Google Maps rolled out an update that added wheelchair accessible routes in public transit. This option can be found as a new route type in the 'Routes' section. To access it, users should click 'Options' under the public transportation icon when getting directions.
According to Google, the route type will show elevators, ramps, and other wheelchair-friendly paths that may not be usually present in maps. People with disabilities can also preview a location with Street View images, which they can use to plan ahead and see if it's safe to visit and easy to navigate with a wheelchair.
Google's street view images and transit information are further supplemented by data coming directly from users. The company previously held meet-ups for Local Guides who helped add accessibility data in Google Maps, including step-free entrances and accessible restrooms in over 12 million locations.
The wheelchair accessible routes are currently only available in New York, London, Tokyo, and other major transit centers in the world. However, Google is aiming to work with other transit agencies in the world to add more wheelchair-friendly routes in the coming months.