The I/O developer conference held last month had previewed a major update to Google Maps, and this would bring personalized restaurant recommendations and more to the company’s mapping tool. So, finally, today, many of these new features have started rolling out to Google Maps users.
To delve deep, the core Google Maps experience for getting directions has remained unaltered. But then, of course, the app now features a new “Explore” tab that lets users learn more about what’s happening around users, as well as a “For You” tab that provides the recommendations for restaurants, lists of up and coming venues and the ability to “follow” neighborhoods and get updates when there are new restaurants and cafes that users would probably like. The main difference between the Explore and For you tabs is that the former is all about giving recommendations for right now, while the latter is more into planning ahead and keeping tabs on an area in the long run.
While most of the other features are rolling out to all the users worldwide, this latest, For you tab and the content in it is only available in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and Japan for now. Again, content in this tab is still a bit limited, too, but Google has also claimed that it would buck up the content, as the week proceeds.
In addition, both of these new tabs lists several new features. There is a “foodie list,” for instance, which shows the hottest new restaurants in an area. Google would also, in fact, keep a track of one of those places users have been to and which ones they would still have to visit. Like before, the Explore tab also features automatically curated lists of good places to go for lunch, with kids or for a romantic dinner. Those lists also include other activities, and Google Maps can now also highlight local events.
With this launch, Google is also releasing its new “Your Match” scores, which sets a numeric rating for each restaurant or bar, depending on the previous choices and ratings. The idea here is that while aggregate ratings are often useful, individual taste often differs from those of the masses. With this new score, Google tries to account for this. To improve these recommendations, users would be now able to explain explicitly to the Maps which cuisines and restaurants users like.
It’s also worth noting here that there are still some features that Google promised at I/O that are not part of this release. Group planning, for example, allows users to create a list of potential meet-up spots and lets friends vote on them and is not part of this release. To conclude, the updated Google Maps for iOS and Android is now available in the Play Store and App Store.