Google Maps update adds AI-powered photographic search results

Google Maps is getting a new AI update that will let you use it a little more like Google Search. Simply type in any item or attraction you’re looking for and Maps will show you where you can find it.

The company announced its new Maps update on Thursday. Instead of having to name a specific business or address, users will now be able to search Google Maps for more general places or products. Google will then use machine learning and image recognition artificial intelligence to analyze the billions of photos that users have uploaded to Maps, combing through them to find one that matches their search.

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Credit: Google

For example, you may have a craving that regular, undecorated coffee simply can’t satisfy. Simply search “animal latte art” on Google Maps and photos of coffee art creatures that other users have shared on the platform will quickly appear. Tap the image you like and Maps will tell you where it was taken and how to navigate there, so you too can go grab a coffee covered in puppy foam art.

If your tastes are less materialistic, you can also look for environmental locations like “fallen leaves” or “waterfalls.”

The new Maps update will begin rolling out in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Germany this week, with more countries to follow.

More information about electric vehicle charging stations

In addition to this, Google Maps is also being updated to help drivers locate EV chargers more easily.

Google Maps, launching globally on Android and iOS this week, will now show drivers more information about electric vehicle charging stations, including when they were last used and whether they are fast, medium or slow charging. This should help eliminate the frustrating experience of driving up to a charging station and discovering that it is not operational.

These updates will also be provided to developers, allowing them to create applications that include real-time information about electric vehicle charging stations and, hopefully, increasing the practical appeal of electric vehicles. According to the Global Electric Vehicle Outlook 2023Electric vehicles accounted for 14 percent of all new car sales globally in 2022, with China responsible for the majority.

A screenshot from Google Maps showing electric vehicle charging stations.


Credit: Google

Google previously updated its electric vehicle information last November, allowing users to filter charging stations based on whether or not they are fast charging and whether a charger is compatible with their vehicle.

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