At Google’s annual Search On 22 conference, the company announced seven new local search features and updates. These updates will greatly improve the way people explore neighborhoods, businesses, and restaurants on Google Search.
Some of the upcoming local search changes include:
- Search restaurants by dish
- Discover the specialties of the restaurant
- More support for digital menus
- Google Maps live view improvements
- Aerial views of famous landmarks
- Immersive view
- Vibe checks in the neighborhood
Read all the details about these updates in the following sections.
1. Search for restaurants by dish
Google is expanding its restaurant search capabilities with the ability to find local places that serve a specific dish.
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The new search experience allows you to enter a search query like “soup dumplings near me” and Google will return a list of restaurants that offer them.
Be even more specific with filters for vegetarian dishes, spicy dishes, and more.
2. Discover the specialties of the restaurant
Local restaurants tend to have a unique quality that they are known for in the community. Identifying quality in a Google search can be difficult as star ratings don’t tell the whole story.
Soon, Google will help searchers preview and rate restaurants to better understand what makes them unique. Here’s an example of a listing for a local restaurant with “people say” highlights at the top of the screen.
Google uses machine learning to analyze images and reviews to figure out what makes a place unique.
3. More digital menu support
Google is expanding its coverage of digital menus, enhancing them with rich graphics and reliably keeping them up-to-date.
In a blog post, Google explains how it can add more digital menus without any extra work from restaurant owners:
“We combine menu information provided by people and vendors and found on restaurant websites that use open standards for data sharing. To do this, we use state-of-the-art image and language understanding technologies, including our Multitask Unified Model.”
Google says it will showcase the most popular dishes and list different diet options, including vegetarian and vegan.
4. Live view improvements in Google Maps
Google is updating a feature it introduced three years ago called Live View, which lets you navigate your phone’s camera viewfinder while you’re looking through the viewfinder.
In addition to navigating from one place to another, you’ll soon be able to search for things in your immediate surroundings.
Google shares an example of using Live View to find an ATM within walking distance of a person:
“Let’s say you go to an open air market and need to withdraw money. When searching with Live View, simply pick up your phone to search for ATMs in an area and view them instantly. You can also spot different places – including cafes, grocery stores, and transit stations. We’ll show you a location’s business hours and load, and you can tap any location to see more details, such as: B. what services the barber shop down the street offers.”
Live View search will roll out in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris and Tokyo in the coming months.
5. Aerial views of landmarks
Available today, Google offers over 250 photorealistic aerial photos of world landmarks.
Google doesn’t list all the landmarks with aerial photos, other than saying they “include everything from Tokyo Tower to the Acropolis.”
6. Immersive view
The immersive view allows you to go beyond street view with an experience that takes you inside buildings and other facilities.
In addition, the immersive view shows you how busy a place will be and what the weather will be like on a given date and time.
Immersive View will be rolling out to Android and iOS in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo in the coming months.
7. Vibe check the neighborhood
A new Neighborhood Sentiment feature in Google Maps gives you a feel for a neighborhood before you visit it.
Google will highlight what’s new, what the local gems are, and what’s worth exploring.
Helpful photos and information from the Google Maps community appear on the map as you browse the neighborhood.
Google says it uses a combination of AI and user-submitted information to power the neighborhood vibe feature, which starts rolling out globally in the coming months on Android and iOS.
Featured image: Lissa M/Shutterstock