Your Android phone’s version of Google Maps may soon have a somewhat different appearance. Some users have already noticed some cosmetic changes to the app.
Google unveiled a new generative AI-powered method for Maps on February 1st, 2024, to assist consumers in finding the ideal location for their demands, regardless of how particular, specialized, or all-encompassing they may be. State what you’re searching for, and Google’s large-language models (LLMs) will swiftly propose locations to visit based on an analysis of Maps’ comprehensive data about over 250 million places and reliable insights from its community of over 300 million contributors.
Last week, an early access trial began in the United States for a limited number of Local Guides among the Maps community’s most engaged and enthusiastic members. Google will develop this functionality and eventually make it available to everyone on Android smartphones.
A fresh approach to location discovery using generative AI
Suppose you want to spend a few hours thrifting for unusual vintage items while you’re in town. Tell Maps what you’re searching for, such as “locations with a vintage vibe.” AI algorithms will examine Maps’ extensive data on neighbouring establishments and locations, images, user-generated ratings, and reviews to provide reliable recommendations.
The results are arranged into helpful categories such as flea markets, record stores, and apparel stores. Additionally, picture carousels and review summaries that emphasize the reasons behind a location’s potential attraction are displayed.
From there, you may add the locations to a list, share them with others, and return to them later to keep them organized. These AI-powered results are beneficial if you need to make last-minute changes to your plans or are feeling impulsive. For instance, to find ideas for indoor activities when it rains while you’re out and about, ask Maps for “activities for a rainy day.” With this experimental feature’s help, users can use Maps to find locations and explore the globe more easily.
9to5Google has already reported some design changes:
- Tapping a location displays a new sheet layout with share and close icons in the upper-right corner.
- Locations now show a portion of the map background at the top instead of being fullscreen. This sheet method aids in maintaining context.
- The directions search interface is now undergoing the most significant redesign on Google Maps. The UI at the top is now only for entering addresses and is no longer edge-to-edge. Everything seems less cluttered as a result.
- The transportation methods carousel has been shifted to the bottom. On mobile devices, this is an excellent gain in reachability. However, swiping up also exposes that the fullscreen user interface is gone, enabling users to view the map in additional ways, such as on public transportation.
It may take some time for everyone to see the changes in their app, and the update may also make its way to the Google Maps iOS app, but we’ll have to wait and see when it becomes available.