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Some U.S. Google Maps users to begin testing new AI redesign this week

Today, Google is introducing a new way for Google Maps users to find places using generative AI. Google’s large-language models (LLMs) will analyze the detailed information that Maps has for over 250 million places and reviews and recommendations from more than 300 million contributors. With this huge data bank, Google Maps will be able to tell you where to go.

Google’s Local Guides will get first crack at the new feature this week. These are, in the words of Miriam Daniel, VP & GM, Google Maps, “…some of the most active and passionate members of the Maps community. Their insights and valuable feedback will help us shape this feature so we can bring it to everyone over time.”

So how can generative AI help you find places using Google Maps? An example that the company gives has you in San Francisco browsing around the city for some “unique vintage finds.” So you would ask Maps to find “places with a vintage vibe in SF.” Maps will then analyze information about businesses nearby augmented with the use of photos, ratings, and reviews from the Maps community to deliver suggestions that users can trust.

Using AI in Google Maps to find places with a vintage vibe in San Francisco

The results could be divided into different categories such as clothing stores, vinyl shops (what you might know as a ‘Record store’) and flea markets. Review summaries and photo carousels would show you why a specific store might be exactly what you’re looking for. You can follow up your original query by asking “How about lunch?” and Maps will look for dining experiences with a vintage vibe which, according to Google, would include an “old-school diner.”

All of the places recommended by Maps can be put into a list to keep you organized, or to share with friends, or to look at when you return to the city at a future date.

If the weather turns bad, you can quick find appropriate nearby activities

The new Google Maps feature can come in handy if an unexpected change in the weather takes place. If it starts raining, you can ask Maps to show you “activities for a rainy day,” and be directed to nearby movie theaters, bowling alleys, museums, and more with pictures and reviews from contributors who have been to these locations.

Google says, “This experimental capability introduces a whole new way for people to more easily discover places and explore the world with Maps. This is just the beginning of how we’re supercharging Maps with generative AI, and we’re excited to start with our passionate community of Local Guides as we shape the future of Maps together.”

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