Local Guides, the Google program for accessibility

How many times did yo go out with your friends or your partner, thinking to enjoy a night in a  trendy public place and, once you got there, you realized that your night wasn’t going to be that happy-go-lucky, due to one too many architectonical barrier? Wouldn’t it be great to have the chance to choose a public place being aware in advance of its accessibility? It’s possible, thanks to Google Maps. Joining the Local Guides program, each Maps user will have the chance to point out, in a few clicks on his smartphone or desktop, the accessibility of the local places in his city. Isn’t it wonderful?

Local Guides

Picture ©Google

HOW TO JOIN local guides?

Joining the  crowdsourcing Local Guides program is easy:

  • Go to Google Maps (from your browser or, if you use the smartphone, from the app)
  • After having logged into your Google account (if you haven’t done it already), choose from the drop-down menu “Your contributions
  • Then, you’ll be invited to join Local Guides: click on “Start” to accept and specify the city you live in
  • In order to share your reviews about the accessibility of public places, you’ll have to activate the Location history, clicking on the appropriate link on your device
  • Now, you’ll be invited to share a review about the places you visited and, if you want, to answer a few questions about their accessibility. For instance, if that place is accessible to people using a wheelchair, or other (you can find some examples here).
local guides

Picture ©Google

For each review you’ll share, you’ll earn some points and, bit by bit, you’ll reach a higher level. The points you’ll earn will enable you to access advantages such as the chance to have new features in advance. But, most importantly, you’ll have the satisfaction of doing something good for other people, with a little effort. Since a more accessible world isn’t good just for who has any disability, but for the whole community!

“Rock, paper, scissors”: Google against bullying

In these days, while surfing the Internet, I’ve often bumped into a very beautiful and meaningful video: “Rock, paper, scissors”, the Android (the mobile operating system by Google) commercial against bullying. The commercial isn’t new, since it had been launched in February, during the last Oscar ceremony. But, since bullying is still a global issue, it’s always worth to watch it again and, above all, reflect on the profound meaning of the message it transmits.

Rock, paper, scissors”: who has never played this game, at least once, as a child? In the game, the three elements are, on one hand, able to cancel their opponent’ action, but, on the other hand, are exposed to it: for instance, the rock beats the scissors, but, meanwhile, it’s beaten by the paper. Only joining their own forces rock, paper and scissors can stand up to the external attacks.

Since the bully (or the bullies) leverage precisely the loneliness of the victim he has chosen, to hit her. And bullying is an issue that constantly affects children and kids of all ages, for very different reasons: disability, ethnic, sexual or, simply, behavioural or aesthetic differences are all factors that, marking a “diversity”, can make who represents them, unfortunately, as a sort of “menace”, to be removed from the picture that, according to the bullies, should represent “perfection”.

“Rock, paper, scissors” the commercial against bullying

So, what can we do? How to solve this problem? For sure, not pretending it doesn’t exist, judging bullying as “childish actions”, that will pass by themselves, as it, unfortunately, often happens. The only way to overtake bullying is, as the “Rock, paper, scissors” commercial recalls, joining our forces, not isolating the (even just potential) victims of bullying, staying close to them, making any possible effort to overthrow, through an inclusive culture, the barriers that separate from the “diverse” people.