I’m planning a trip to India right now, and the things I encounter as I work out my itinerary are fascinating. India (sadly) doesn’t have the most sanitary bathrooms in the world, and there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of public health. Earlier this year, the Indian government launched an ad campaign called “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” (Clean India Mission), promoting using toilets as a priority.
The campaign is targeted towards those who are no longer struggling economically, but continue to defecate in the open, which is sometimes still a practice in rural India. As part of the effort to be “open-defecation free” by 2019, the government of India built millions of new toilets.
According to IBTimes India, Google is working with the Ministry of Urban Development to help folks find a clean bathroom. The Google Toilet Locator will be rolling out within the next 2 weeks. The feature will first be piloted in the National Capital Region, which include New Delhi and surrounding urban areas.
This works largely like how you would find a business or point of interest on Google. Google Maps users can simply search for a “bathroom,” toilet,” or similar terms in Hindi, and Google will show you where the closest clean bathrooms are. There is also a crowdsourcing element to this project, and users are encouraged to report any bathrooms that are closed or filthy. They do this just like other Points of Interests currently on Google—by giving it a bad review or rating.
I know there is a pressing need for a feature like this in India, and I will be happy to take advantage of this on my trip to India. But part of me hopes that Google will actually expand this to other countries. I know I’ve spend sometimes hours looking for a clean bathroom when I’m traveling, and this will be handy feature!
The question now is…can I incorporate a bathroom stop in my Google Trips itinerary?