Google Maps update adds AI-powered photographic search results

Key Takeaways:

– Google Maps is receiving a new AI update that allows users to search for general sights or products.
– The update utilizes machine learning and image recognition AI to analyze user-uploaded photographs and find matches for their search.
– Users can search for specific types of coffee art or environmental sights, and Maps will provide information on where to find them.
– The update is rolling out in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Germany, with more countries to follow.
– Google Maps is also being updated to provide more information on EV charging stations, including usage data and charging speed.
– These updates will be available to developers, allowing them to create apps with real-time information on EV charging stations.
– The global EV market is growing, with electric vehicles accounting for 14% of new car sales in 2022.

Mashable:

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.

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.


Credit: Google

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.

A Google Maps screenshot showing EV charging stations.


Credit: Google

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.


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AI Eclipse TLDR:

Google Maps is receiving a new artificial intelligence (AI) update that will allow users to search for general sights or products rather than specific businesses or addresses. The update utilizes machine learning and image recognition AI to analyze the billions of photographs uploaded by users to Maps and find matches for the search. For example, users can search for “animal latte art” and Maps will display photos of coffee art critters shared by other users, along with information on where they were taken and directions to get there. The update will be rolled out in the US, UK, Japan, France, and Germany initially, with more countries to follow.

Additionally, Google Maps is being updated to help drivers locate electric vehicle (EV) charging stations more easily. The update will provide drivers with more information on EV charging stations, including their last usage and charging speed. This update aims to prevent the frustration of arriving at a charging station only to find it non-operational. The information on EV charging stations will also be made available to developers to create apps with real-time information, potentially boosting the practical appeal of electric vehicles. As per the 2023 Global EV Outlook, electric vehicles accounted for 14% of new car sales globally in 2022, with China leading the majority.