Published on February 1, 2024, 2:19 pm

Google Maps Introduces Chat Capability Powered by Generative AI

Generative AI is a hot topic in today’s technology landscape, and Google is no stranger to harnessing its capabilities. Adding to its repertoire of products that incorporate this cutting-edge technology, Google Maps now has a new chat feature that allows users to have more engaging and personalized interactions with the app.

As the go-to navigation companion for millions of users, Google Maps already boasts immense popularity, with over 67% of mapping users preferring it over other apps. With more than one billion users as of late 2023, the addition of generative AI to its arsenal could further elevate its appeal.

The chat-based functionality enables users to converse with Google Maps in a conversational manner, seeking more nuanced responses and suggestions beyond generic search results. For instance, imagine you’re visiting San Francisco and want recommendations on unique vintage stores. Simply ask Maps for “places with a vintage vibe in SF,” and the app’s AI models will diligently analyze rich information about nearby businesses, including photos, ratings, reviews from the Maps community, and other relevant data. Based on this analysis, trusty suggestions tailored to your preferences will be provided.

To enhance user experience further, generative AI-powered results will be organized into convenient categories such as clothing stores, vinyl shops, and flea markets. Visual representations in the form of photo carousels and AI-generated review summaries will accompany these recommendations, giving you insight into why a particular place aligns with your intentions.

But the interaction doesn’t end there — you can continue conversing with Google Maps through follow-up questions just like chatting with chatbots like ChatGPT. Let’s say you also fancy grabbing lunch at a place that exudes those vintage vibes. You can ask a follow-up question like “How about lunch?” Google Maps will then suggest nearby dining establishments that match your desired ambiance, such as an old-school diner.

Powering this generative AI feature in Google Maps are its large-language models (LLMs). These models can generate text and suggestions leveraging an extensive database comprising over 250 million saved places and reviews from a staggering 300 million contributors. Although the feature initially rolls out as an early access experiment, select Local Guides will have the privilege of trying it first. Google aims to gradually make it available to all users in the future.

With this latest addition, Google has taken yet another step toward integrating generative AI into everyday applications. The ability to chat with Google Maps opens doors to more personalized and context-aware experiences for users worldwide. As technology continues to advance, we can expect even more innovative use cases for generative AI in various domains.

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