Google Maps is getting a new AI update that will let you use it a bit more like Google Search. Simply type in whatever object or attraction you’re looking for, and Maps will show you where you can find it.
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The company announced its new Maps update on Thursday. Rather than having to name a specific business or address, users will now be able to search Google Maps for more general sights or products. Google will then use machine learning and image recognition AI to analyse the billions of photographs users have uploaded to Maps, scouring through them to find any that match your search.
For example, you may find yourself with a craving that normal, undecorated coffee simply cannot satisfy. Just search “animal latte art” in Google Maps, and it will quickly surface photos of coffee art critters that other users have shared on the platform. Tap on whichever image strikes your fancy, and Maps will serve you information on where it was taken and how to navigate there, so you too can go and get yourself a coffee topped with puppy foam art.
If your tastes are less materialistic, you can also search for environmental sights such as “fall leaves” or “waterfalls.”
Maps’ new update will begin rolling out in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Germany this week, with more countries to follow.
More information on EV charging stations
In addition to this, Google Maps is also being updated to help drivers locate EV chargers more easily.
Rolling out globally on Android and iOS this week, Google Maps will now show drivers more information on EV charging stations, including when they were last used and whether they’re fast, medium, or slow charging. This should help eliminate the frustrating experience of driving all the way to a charging station only to find out it’s not operational.
These updates will be provided to developers as well, enabling them to create apps that include real-time information on EV charging stations — and hopefully increase the practical appeal of electric vehicles. According to the 2023 Global EV Outlook, electric vehicles accounted for 14 percent of all new car sales globally in 2022, with China responsible for the majority.
Google previously updated its EV information last November, allowing users to filter charging stations by whether or not they’re fast charging, and by whether a charger is compatible with your vehicle.