Google Maps is set to enhance the user experience with a new generative AI feature aimed at making place discovery more intuitive and conversational. The feature utilizes large language models (LLMs) to analyze over 250 million locations on Google Maps and contributions from more than 300 million Local Guides.
The new feature allows users to make more conversational queries, such as searching for specific experiences like “places with a vintage vibe in SF.” In response, Maps will generate shopping recommendations organized by categories, along with “photo carousels and review summaries” The aim is to provide a more dynamic and personalized search experience, with the AI generating recommendations even for niche or specific queries.
The generative AI feature goes beyond traditional search, offering users a more interactive and responsive platform. If users follow up with questions like “How about lunch?” after an initial query, the AI will consider previous interests, such as a vintage vibe, and suggest relevant restaurants that meet the specified criteria.
Google Maps new feature availability
The early access experiment for the new feature is rolling out in the United States this week, initially available to select Local Guides. Local Guides are members of Google’s community who contribute reviews, facts, and photos on Maps to enhance the platform’s information about different locations.
The feature will eventually become available to all users in the near future, although specific timelines for international rollout have not been disclosed.
Google’s recent efforts with Maps, including AI-powered features like photo results and the ability to suggest specific places based on vague queries, reflect the platform’s evolution into a comprehensive tool for discovering new places rather than solely focusing on navigation.
Google is also amplifying its commitment to AI technology in song and lyric creation. The latest release, MusicFX, represents an evolution of Google’s generative AI text-to-music experiment, MusicLM, introduced last year.
The company sees this generative AI feature as just the beginning of its efforts to enhance Maps with advanced AI capabilities.