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Where to next? Google Maps uses Gen AI to transform your adventures

Where to next? Google Maps uses Gen AI to transform your adventures
Where to next? Google Maps uses Gen AI to transform your adventures

Google Maps is adding generative artificial intelligence (Gen AI) to its app, offering tailor-made user experiences – “no matter how specific, niche, or broad your needs might be,” the company said in a statement.  

Consumers are “tired of typical advertising.” Google showed that it understood the assignment and took this insight to its Maps platform. 

Gen AI coming to Google Maps

The latest update integrates Gen AI to “analyze Maps’ detailed information about more than 250 million places and trusted insights from over 300 million contributors to quickly make suggestions for where to go,” Google explains

The early access experiment is rolling out to Local Guides in the US. Based on their feedback, Google says it will refine the feature before gradually rolling it out to all users. At the time of publishing, Google Maps had more than 10 billion downloads on the Play Store

Its community also consists of more than 120 million Local Guides (as of 2020,) with users contributing more than 20 million pieces of information every day – that’s roughly 200 contributions every second.

ALSO READ: Data-driven e-commerce: Understanding your customers

How does it work? 

Imagine you’re going to San Francisco and you have a few hours to spare. What better way to spend the time than by indulging in your hobby – thrifting for unique vintage finds? With the new Gen AI capabilities, you can simply ask for “places with a vintage vibe in SF,” and the AI does the magic. 

Google says its models “will analyze Maps’ rich information about nearby businesses and places, along with photos, ratings, and reviews.” The results will be sorted according to categories, for example, distinguishing stores from vinyl shops and street markets.

After your morning of thrifting, perhaps it’s time to grab a bite to eat. All you need to do is continue the conversation and ask, “how about lunch?” 

Now you have a list of lunch spots near the vintage shops you just explored. And since you were scouting for vintage finds, Google might just stay on theme and recommend an old-school diner nearby. 

Google says this feature will come in handy for those moments when you’re feeling spontaneous. For example, you’re out and about when it suddenly starts to rain and your plans change. Simply ask, “activities for a rainy day,” and off you go. 

Why businesses should take note

The Gen AI evolution poses a profound implication for businesses serious about their online footprint. It will now be more important than ever to maintain online visibility since high ratings and positive reviews will expose your company to potential customers. 

To keep with the example of our vintage enthusiast: If your establishment has vintage decor, it would be recommended in a search for “cafes with a vintage vibe.” Not only does it spread the word about your cafe, it also provides the consumer with a unique experience.

Businesses can capitalize on this by asking customers to leave reviews, and to share their photos. It’s also important to update your business information and include any redeeming features to make your establishment stand out from the crowd.

Maps’ leap into the future

In the past, Google Maps merely helped users to get from point A to point B, while hopefully avoiding some of the traffic along the way. The Gen AI integration, however, takes the app from an ordinary navigation tool to an advanced, personalized travel assistant.

It will now understand more nuanced searches, and will be more contextually aware of a user’s search habits. And since the Google Maps app is available in more than 220 countries and records over one billion driven kilometers every day, it has a vast network of data points to draw from. 

Now that it’s being rolled out to Google’s massive community of Local Guides, it will connect the mountain of quantitative data on its servers with the qualitative personalized experiences modern users crave. 

About the author

Cheryl has contributed to various international publications, with a fervor for data and technology. She explores the intersection of emerging tech trends with logistics, focusing on how digital innovations are reshaping industries on a global scale. When she's not dissecting the latest developments in AI-driven innovation and digital solutions, Cheryl can be found gaming, kickboxing, or navigating the novel niches of consumer gadgetry.

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