Written by Matt G. Southern –
At Google’s annual Search On conference, the company announced seven new features and updates to local search.
These updates will significantly enhance how people explore neighborhoods, businesses, and restaurants in Google Search.
The local search changes rolling out soon include:
- Search for restaurants by dish
- Discover restaurant specialties
- More support for digital menus
- Enhancements to Google Maps’ Live View
- Aerial views of famous landmarks
- Immersive view
- Neighborhood vibe checks
Read all the details about these updates in the below sections.
1. Search For Restaurants By Dish
Google is upgrading its restaurant search capabilities with the ability to find local places that serve a specific dish.
The new search experience will allow you to enter a query like “soup dumplings near me,” and Google will return a list of restaurants that offer it.
You can get even more specific with filters for vegetarian dishes, spicy dishes, and more.
2. Discover Restaurant Specialties
Local restaurants commonly have a unique quality that they’re known for through the community.
Identifying the quality in a Google search can be difficult because star ratings don’t tell the whole story.
Soon, Google will help searchers preview and evaluate restaurants to understand better 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 find what makes a place distinctive.
3. More Support For Digital Menus
Google is expanding its coverage of digital menus while enhancing them with rich visuals and keeping them reliably updated.
In a blog post, Google explains how it can add more digital menus without any additional work required from restaurant owners:
“We combine menu information provided by people and merchants, 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 call out different dietary options, including vegetarian and vegan.
4. Enhancements To Live View In Google Maps
Google is upgrading a feature it introduced three years ago called Live View, which allows you to navigate directions while looking through the viewfinder of your phone’s camera.
In addition to navigating from one place to another, you’ll soon be able to search for things in your immediate vicinity.
Google shares an example of using Live View to find an ATM within walking distance of where a person is standing:
“Say you’re heading to an outdoor market and need to take cash out. With search with Live View, simply lift your phone to search and instantly see the ATMs in an area. You can also spot different places — including coffee shops, grocery stores and transit stations. We’ll show you business hours and how busy a place is, and you can tap on any location to view more details, like what services the barber shop down the street offers.”
Search with Live View starts rolling out in the coming months in London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Tokyo.
5. Aerial Views Of Landmarks
Available today, Google is over 250 photorealistic aerial views of global landmarks.
Google doesn’t list all the landmarks with aerial views, other than to say they “span everything from the Tokyo Tower to the Acropolis.”
6. Immersive View
Immersive view will allow you to go beyond street view with an experience that takes you inside buildings and other establishments.
In addition, immersive view will show you how busy a place will be and what the weather will be like at a given date and time.
Immersive view rolls out in the coming months in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo on Android and iOS.
7. Vibe Check The Neighborhood
A new “neighborhood vibe” feature in Google Maps will give you a feel for a neighborhood before you visit.
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 will appear on the map while browsing 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