Google Maps is rolling out a series of updates centered around boosting the user experience through new community-building features. Perhaps the most exciting new feature is the ability to fix mistakes in Google Maps by adding absent roads, drawing in missing walkways, or amending incorrect map plots.
Google has said that its new road editing tool, exclusive to desktop, lets users fix missing roads in real-time. Previously, it meant having to drop a pin to alert Google; now, simply head to the side menu, go to Edit the map, and click Missing Road.
According to the blog, the bunch of new features focuses on building information attuned to your local area on the mobile and desktop; add knowledge around a local business, and fix mistakes to make it easier to get around effectively without encountering outdated information. The feature is set to roll out in over 80 markets over the next few months.
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Google Maps: leave review and updates
Google Maps is also improving the community-focused aspect of the app and supporting local businesses. The company is encouraging users to "show love" by writing reviews, leaving more nuanced guides on businesses' services, and updating any factual info.
This is useful as local communities often have the most up-to-date information on how a business operates, like changing opening hours, and thereon building a more robust stack of digital particulars around your favorite local industry.
To do this, Google is targeting people using Android in the US, letting them join its first nationwide challenge to build a catalog of these reviews, updates, and photos.
Head to the Contribute tab in Google Maps to join the 'Local Love challenge' and add your own ratings and reviews to support local businesses you’ve visited.
Google Maps: photo updates
Google Maps has also rejigged how you post photo updates. Head to the Updates tab when searching for a local merchant; once there, you can scour through a treasure trove of user-submitted photos to inform how the business looks visually.
Users can search and add as many photos as they'd like, which should result in a wealth of user-accessible imagery of local businesses, keeping things up-to-date on the image front as well as the info front.
Google Maps is also rolling out the new content now and over several months. According to Google, "Local Guides have contributed more than 70% of the reviews, photos and other types of user-generated content you see on Google Maps".
It shows that this user-generated content is invaluable to the wider experience of the app and it can only be a good thing as we come out of lockdown and more heavily rely on Google Maps to get us from A to B.