Google's new Gen AI in Maps can help you find places to go and things to do

Viewing Google Maps on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4's smaller cover screen
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Google states new generative AI-backed search capabilities will soon arrive for "select" Local Guides in the U.S.
  • The AI can help users find locations based on their queries or pre-made options.
  • Results will be shown based on category, review summaries, establishment photos, and more.

Google is detailing some new ways generative AI is set to improve the search experience of Maps. According to a Keyword post, Google states users can offer a question to its LLM (large language model), which will then piggyback off of all the location data stored inside Maps to offer a relevant suggestion. Beginning in the U.S., users will soon find the option to write in their query or choose from a selection of pre-made ones.

Using the example of "places with a vintage vibe in SF," Google states Maps' AI will draw from information on businesses and places around you that might fit this criterion. Moreover, the AI results will pull data from photos, reviews, and ratings.

Once a result is delivered, Maps displays them in specific categories, like "clothing stores, vinyl shops, and flea markets." Like tapping on a shop in Maps, the AI-powered results will showcase establishment photos and summaries of current reviews.

Queries can be continued with a follow-up question, with Google offering the example of finding lunch but with a vintage theme. Again, the AI will attempt to match nearby places to your interests. The bookmark tag beside location names lets users save locations to a list and share a spot with others.

Google then highlights the AI's ability to handle broader interests like "activities for a rainy day." Additionally, users can follow it up with "What about options for kids?" Many of Maps AI-powered pre-made suggestions also follow this broad query trend.

Users can offer broader queries, like "activities for a rainy day," with Maps' Gen AI.

(Image credit: Google)

As previously mentioned, these features are rolling out in Google Maps for U.S. users, however, it begins with "select" Local Guides. These folks are typically local reviewers in a given area who know the best spots to frequent and offer their unique take on establishments. Maps' latest experiments will likely undergo intense trials before the general public sees them.

Google has been providing more discovery methods in Maps, like its latest feature that helps users find food items. Following its January update, the app can automatically inform users of the food they're looking at in restaurant photos taken by other customers. The app will also attempt to mark items with relevant health tags like "vegetarian" or "popular."

Another update sees users noticing a 3D view on the navigational side of Maps. While mobile users have reported its appearance, drivers utilizing Android Auto dashboards have spotted it, too.

Nickolas Diaz
News Writer

Nickolas is always excited about tech and getting his hands on it. Writing for him can vary from delivering the latest tech story to scribbling in his journal. When Nickolas isn't hitting a story, he's often grinding away at a game or chilling with a book in his hand.