Technology

Google Looks to Help Solve India's Toilet Problem With Restroom Finder

With a reported 70 percent of households not having toilets, Google Maps will show toilets in malls, hospitals and other public places within.
Google Looks to Help Solve India's Toilet Problem With Restroom Finder
Image credit: via Engadget

Google has teamed up with India's Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to develop a toilet locator tool within Maps. The country has a pretty infamous toilet problem, with around 70 percent of households not having access to their own. According to Public Radio International, 60 percent of the 1.2 billion people in the nation still defecate and urinate in the open, leading to serious sanitation issues. Google and MoUD aim to tackle that dilemma by giving people the power to search for toilets within Maps by typing relevant words in English or in their native language, like "toilet," "lavatory," "swachhata" and "shulabh." Maps will then show available toilets in the same way it shows hotels, restaurants and other establishments.

A MoUD official told International Business Times that they're relying on people to let other users know of a particular location's condition. "The system being put in place relies heavily on crowdsourcing, with people's feedback helping fuel it," he said. If a toilet isn't clean or if it's already closed, "he or she can give it a bad review or rating." The tool will be available in Delhi before November ends and will show not just public toilets, but also those in malls, gas stations, hospitals and other places anyone can go to. MoUD wants to expand the program to cover other urban areas, but that could take a while: the ministry doesn't have a concrete plan or timeline yet.