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Google Maps to Add AI-Powered Recommendations of Places to Visit

Google Maps will soon help people discover places with its new feature that uses generative artificial intelligence (AI).

This feature is being rolled out to select Local Guides — who are some of the most active users of Maps — this week before being made generally available, the company said in a Thursday (Feb. 1) blog post.

The new feature aims to provide personalized recommendations based on users’ specific needs, according to the post.

By leveraging large language models (LLMs), Google Maps can analyze its database of over 250 million places and insights from its community of more than 300 million contributors, the post said. This allows the generative AI to quickly generate tailored suggestions for users, whether they have a specific niche in mind or a broader idea of what they’re looking for.

For example, if someone is visiting San Francisco and wants to explore vintage shops, they can simply ask Google Maps for “places with a vintage vibe in SF,” per the post. The AI models will then analyze the available information, including photos, ratings and reviews from the Maps community, to provide suggestions.

Users can continue the conversation by asking follow-up questions, such as “How about lunch?” Google Maps will provide AI-powered recommendations of nearby places that match the user’s preferences, according to the post. Users can save these places to a list, share them with friends or revisit them in the future.

This new feature also comes in handy when plans change or when users are feeling spontaneous, the post said. For example, if it starts to rain, users can ask Google Maps for “activities for a rainy day” and get suggestions for indoor activities. The AI will provide recommendations like comedy shows or movie theaters. Users can also ask for family-friendly options, and Google Maps will suggest places like bowling alleys, children’s museums or indoor playgrounds based on their location.

This experimental capability is just the beginning of how Google Maps plans to enhance the user experience using generative AI, per the post.

Google parent company Alphabet has been deploying generative AI across its product offerings, including search and advertising.

The company’s subscriptions are up fivefold since 2019, “driven by our GenAI and product leadership,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Tuesday (Jan. 30) during the company’s quarterly earnings call.