Google Maps Gets a New Social Feature, and Everything Makes Sense Now

Google Maps may be the world’s number one navigation app, but this doesn’t necessarily mean Google isn’t working on improving it on other fronts.
New Google Maps photo updates feature in action 1 photo
Photo: Google
Last year, for example, the Mountain View-based search giant released a feed-based system under the Explore tab that essentially gives Google Maps users the power to stay up-to-date with what’s happening around them based on their locations and preferences.

In other words, Google Maps is becoming more of a social network that allows users to follow local experts and other people, who in turn could post reviews, photos, and other content related to nearby locations.

Now Google Maps has announced another improvement on this front: photo updates that can be posted with just one line of text, all from a new button that shows up in the app under the Updates tab.

The purpose is as simple as it could be: to let others get a closer look at a certain location, pretty much because a picture is worth a thousand words. So the text is less important this time, as the focus is clearly on the photos users can upload to Google Maps.

Google is grouping the shared content into two categories, namely from owner and from visitors, and once again, the posts are displayed similar to a feed.

So right now, it’s pretty clear Google is betting big on crowdsourcing, trying to make the most of its large community of users that can have a more significant contribution to how the service is developing. Not a long time ago, Google also unlocked the Street View upload feature for users with regular Android phones, essentially allowing anyone to take street-level imagery that would then be accessed by millions others on Google Maps.

At the end of the day, it all makes sense now: Google wants its large userbase to play a bigger role in the future of Google Maps, and making it easier for each and every one of us to contribute with content is the right way to do it.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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