Google is introducing generative AI to Google Maps, aiming to assist users in discovering interesting places with the help of large language models (LLM). This feature will respond to queries seeking recommendations for restaurants or shopping by leveraging its LLM to “analyze Maps’ detailed information about more than 250 million places and trusted insights from our community of over 300 million contributors to quickly make suggestions for where to go.”
Initially, this feature will be accessible in the United States, and there’s no information yet on when it will extend to other countries. Keep an eye out for this enhanced recommendation system as it becomes available on Google Maps.
Google is leveraging its generative AI capabilities to enhance Google Maps, turning it into more than just a navigation tool and transforming it into a search tool for discovering new places.
Generative AI in Maps
With generative AI, users can ask Maps for specific recommendations, such as “places with a vintage vibe in SF” when visiting San Francisco. Google’s AI models will analyze the rich information on nearby businesses, including photos, ratings, and reviews from the Maps community, to provide reliable suggestions.
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Google is taking a thoughtful approach by starting with a small rollout, working closely with its Local Guides community of contributors to ensure responsible use of generative AI in Google Maps. Initially, only these contributors will have access to the feature, with plans to open it up to other users at a later date.
The Local Guides community, established at least since 2019, consists of global contributors who write reviews, share photos, answer questions, edit places, and fact-check on Google Maps. This collaborative effort aims to enhance the generative AI feature in Google Maps.
Generative AI Chatbots-Style in Maps
The exact distinction between the new generative AI feature in Google Maps and the traditional method of searching, such as entering “vintage store SF” in the regular search bar, is not entirely clear. However, it’s speculated that the response from the generative AI will likely be more conversational, resembling a chatbot-style interaction. Instead of simply presenting a list of vintage shops based on proximity, the AI might engage in a more dynamic and interactive conversation to understand and refine user preferences before providing recommendations. This approach aims to offer a more personalized and user-friendly experience in discovering new places through Google Maps.