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Google to launch a toilet locator tool to help curb India’s sanitation problem

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The Indian government is partnering with Google to solve one of the biggest problems that plague our populous — sanitation. More than 60 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion people do not have access to lavatory services and still continue to defecate in the open. While there are some public toilets and sanitation houses, they are hugely lacking on the cleanliness front.

Thus, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has partnered with Google to develop a tool that’ll enable people to find the nearest and cleanest toilets across their city, reports International Business Times India. While the details of the service are still sketchy but a source tells that Google Map users in the country will soon have access to data about clean public restrooms in their vicinity.

The toilet locator map tool will work similar to Google Search, where you can search for restaurants or petrol stations nearby. Users can locate clean toilets in their area by typing in relevant keywords like “toilet,” “lavatory,” or other Hindi words like “swach,”  “shulabh” or “shauchalay.”

These search results will not be restricted to public restrooms or Sulabh Shauchalays at your location but will also point you to the nearest public places like metro stations, malls, hospitals, petrol pumps and other establishments — which house clean restrooms. An anonymous ministry official also commented on the issue of dirty of closed public services saying,

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.

The IB Times report further suggests that project development is currently underway and the search giant will debut the pilot in the Nation Capital Region(NCR) by the end of this month, November. The probability of the same being officially unveiled in the next 15 days is high as the MoUD is currently celebrating Swachhata Pakhwada or Cleanliness Fortnight. The ministry hasn’t specified a timeline for the release of this feature to all cities in the country as it plans to gain user feedback before scaling the service to other metros.

This is one of the several initiatives undertaken by Google to better the lives of the 1.2 billion pupils residing in this vast country. It has also partnered with the rail ministry to introduce RailTel Wi-Fi services at crowded railway stations across the country. This plan of distributing free internet services has been very helpful for the users who’re using it to access educational and technological info from the web.

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