Google Maps Unveils New AI-Powered Features and Enhancements


Google Maps is set to bolster Maps with a series of updates that tap into the power of Artificial Intelligence. The changes are geared towards refining users’ experience searching, exploring, and navigating.

AI-Powered Photo Search

The search function within Maps is getting a facelift. Now, when users search with terms like “animal latte art,” they will be presented with photo results, all thanks to AI and advanced image recognition. Such a feature aims to facilitate users in uncovering new venues based on actual user-shared images. For example, finding a captivating animal latte art can directly lead you to the coffee shop where it’s made.

  • Rollout Status: This feature is initially available in France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. Google plans to introduce it in more countries soon.

Organized Search for Activities and Dining

For those moments when you’re unsure of what to do next, Google has enhanced its search results. Imagine being in Tokyo; a search for “things to do” might suggest “anime,” “cherry blossoms,” or “art exhibitions.” Users can effortlessly tap on these suggestions, navigating or saving them for later.

  • Availability: This feature is set to be available globally on Android and iOS platforms soon.

Enhanced Navigation Interface

Maps is also getting a visual update for better navigation. Users will observe more detailed buildings, aiding in orientation, especially in urban areas. Additionally, highway users will benefit from better lane details, which is crucial for those high-speed lane changes.

  • Countries of Introduction: These updates will be available in 12 countries, encompassing the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany.

Improved Features for Drivers

Drivers in the U.S. will now be able to identify HOV lanes on their routes. Meanwhile, in Europe, AI-driven speed limit details will be rolled out in 20 countries.

For electric vehicle (EV) users, the app will now display comprehensive charging station details, including compatibility, charger speed, and the charger’s last usage.

Expansion of Current AI Features

Google is increasing the reach of some of its existing AI features:

  • Immersive View for Routes: Users can preview their routes, whether driving or walking. This feature is now accessible in cities like Amsterdam, London, New York, and Tokyo, among others.
  • Lens in Maps: Formerly known as Search with Live View, this feature is coming to over 50 new cities. It leverages AI and AR to enhance user understanding of their surroundings, assisting in locating ATMs, restaurants, and more.

Google Maps AI-Powered Features FAQs

1. What is the new AI-powered photo search feature in Google Maps?

Google Maps has introduced a feature where users can search for specific terms, like “animal latte art,” and receive photo results based on AI and advanced image recognition. The photos are derived from images shared by users on Google Maps. This makes it easier for users to discover places that offer precisely what they’re searching for.

2. How will the organized search for activities and dining work?

If a user is in a new city and searches for “things to do,” Google Maps will show better-organized results. For example, in Tokyo, suggestions might include “anime,” “cherry blossoms,” or “art exhibitions.” Users can then tap on these results to navigate to the location or save them for later.

3. Are there any navigation improvements in the new update?

Yes, Google Maps will display more detailed and realistic building structures to help users better orient themselves in urban areas. Also, there are improved lane details for highway users, showing more transparent lane information, which is especially beneficial when needing to change lanes quickly.

4. How does the new feature benefit electric vehicle (EV) drivers?

EV drivers will now see more detailed information about charging stations on their maps. This includes data about charger compatibility with their vehicle, the speed of available chargers (fast, medium, or slow), and the last usage time of a charger to ensure its functionality.

5. What is “Lens in Maps,” and how does it work?

“Lens in Maps,” previously known as “Search with Live View,” is a feature that uses AI and augmented reality to provide users with an enhanced understanding of their surroundings. This feature can help users find information about nearby ATMs, transit stations, restaurants, etc. It will be rolled out to over 50 new cities in the upcoming update.

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