Google Maps experiments with generative AI to improve discovery

neub9
By neub9
2 Min Read

Google Maps is introducing a new generative AI feature to help users discover new places, as announced by the company today.

The new feature utilizes large language models (LLMs) to analyze over 250 million locations on Google Maps and contributions from over 300 million Local Guides in order to provide personalized recommendations. For example, users can search for “places with a vintage vibe in SF” to find cool thrift shops in San Francisco, and Maps will generate shopping recommendations organized by categories, as well as provide photo carousels and review summaries. The company states that the new feature aims to offer a more conversational search experience, allowing users to ask follow-up questions and receive tailored responses based on their previous interests.

According to the company, the feature is designed to generate recommendations for even the most niche or specific queries.

The early access experiment is rolling out this week in the U.S. and will be available to select Local Guides, with plans to expand to other users in the near future. The company has not yet specified which other countries will receive the feature.

In October, Google updated Maps with various AI-powered features, such as photo results and the ability to suggest specific places when entering vague queries. The new generative AI feature represents the next step in Maps’ evolution into a destination for discovering new places, rather than just for navigation.

Google wrote in today’s blog post, “This is just the beginning of how we’re supercharging Maps with generative AI.”

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