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Google Maps experiments with generative AI to improve discovery

Google Maps is getting a boost in its capabilities with the introduction of a generative AI feature designed to enhance the discovery of new places, as announced by the company. This innovative feature utilizes large language models (LLMs) to analyze data from an extensive database of over 250 million locations on Google Maps and contributions from a community of over 300 million Local Guides. By employing natural language queries, users can now receive personalized suggestions based on their specific interests. For instance, a search for “places with a vintage vibe in SF” will yield shopping recommendations categorized by type, complete with photo carousels and review summaries. This approach aims to make the search experience more interactive and user-friendly. Notably, the AI is capable of handling follow-up questions, adjusting recommendations based on the user’s evolving preferences. The initial release of this early access experiment will be in the U.S., starting with select Local Guides, and is expected to be made available to a broader audience in the near future. Google envisions this generative AI feature as a pivotal step in redefining Google Maps as a platform for discovering new places, moving beyond its traditional navigation role. The company expresses enthusiasm about continuing to enhance Maps with generative AI capabilities in the ongoing journey.

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