Google Maps Restaurant Recommendations HeroSource: Joe Maring / Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google today announced three new ways it plans to keep Maps data up to date.
  • It's planning a contest aimed at getting 100,000 local businesses updated with ratings and reviews.
  • Another tool will see users being able to post photo updates without needing to leave a business rating or review.

Google is rolling out an update to Google Maps that will make it easier for users to add details and data to map listings. Well, it's not so much an update as it is a series of updates. Not all of them will arrive all at once, and they won't be relevant to everyone.

The first is a U.S.-specific update that's also time-limited. Google is running a "Loval love Challenge" for the next month, allowing users on Android phones or tablets to " add ratings, reviews and confirm information to support local businesses [they've] visited". The goal is to reach and update 100, 000 local businesses across the country. Successful or not, it would also form the base for similar future challenges in other countries.

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The next one is aimed at drivers and is accessible from the Google Maps web app. It'll be made available to countries where users can already report road updates, and it will allow users to report roads that are missing on maps. Not only that, they can rename incorrect roads, edit road names, and add details of road closures. It's essentially crowdsourcing local knowledge, but Google promises that it'll be checking these changes before updates go live.

Google Maps Garys PizzaSource: Google

Finally, Google is rolling out photo updates to Maps. It'll essentially be an Instagram for your local attractions, you'll be able to share and view photos on the page of a local business or attraction. It's separate from ratings and reviews as you can simply just leave a judgment-free comment under your photo, and it's meant to help future visitors gain a more comprehensive snapshot of a locale. This update seems to be a bit more universal, not being tied to any country or operating system. It'll be rolling out in the coming weeks.