Over the years Google Maps has become more than just a tool for mapping and navigation with features such as location sharing, suggested places and more. Now the search giant is planning to make Maps even more useful by adding suggestions for popular dishes at a restaurant.
Google Maps now suggests popular dishes
Google Maps has long been asking users to submit photos of the dishes they are having at a listed restaurant with its name. Now we know why it was doing so.
When did Google Maps get these crowd sourced menu pics? So valuable! pic.twitter.com/hOUOIIfbj9
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— Taylor Wimberly (@wimbet) May 3, 2019
Twitter user Taylor Wimberley spotted a new tab in the Menu page on a restaurant’s Maps listing in Google Maps. This new tab is called “Popular Dishes,” and it is apparently based on reviews for the restaurant and commonly-mentioned dish names. Many other users have confirmed seeing the same tab.
The popular dishes are shown in the Material Theme cards, which include a picture of the dish and a link to more reviews and images. There is also a + button that allows users to upload an image.
Restaurants which already have a detailed menu listed on Maps in the Menu tab will first display their popular dishes. The text menu will be displayed in the following sub-tabs. At the bottom of the dish pages, there is a carousel to jump to other dishes available at the same restaurant. Some dishes may also carry pricing information.
It is quite possible that Google is using its AI technology to identify some of the dishes, or even categorize them under “Appetizers,” “Entrees,” “Kids Menu,” etc.
How can people make it more useful?
Because the feature is still new or possibly even still in testing, there seems to be some inconsistencies between what the dish actually is and its name, some users note. Moreover, some dishes don’t even have a name as well. This could be because the users who posted it didn’t tag it with a name.
Such inconsistencies could prove disappointing for some users who may want to order a meal because an image of it makes it look delicious, but the missing name holds them back. However, they can seek help from the restaurant staff to identify the dish in the image.
9to5Google notes that users can suggest an edit to the information in the Popular Dishes tab. Users can suggest a name change for a dish or even report if the name of the dish is offensive. They can also report if that particular dish is different from its mentioned description or if it is not available at that restaurant any more. Users can even flag if the media linked to the dish is inappropriate, incorrect or violates any copyright.
With the Popular Dishes tab, Google Maps takes another step to take on rivals such as Yelp, Foursquare and TripAdvisor. Like Yelp, Google Maps already offers restaurant listings, user reviews and in-app reservations.
Google Maps’ Popular Dishes feature is not yet available to everyone. The feature appears to be in the testing phase and should roll out publicly once it is ready.
Real-time availability at EV stations
A couple of weeks ago, Google Maps added another useful feature. This new feature shows real-time availability of nearby EV charging stations.
“Simply search for ‘ev charging stations’ to see up to date information from networks like Chargemaster, EVgo, SemaConnect and soon, Chargepoint,” Google said in a blog post announcing the feature.
Google first talked about adding such a feature last year, but it just started rolling it out to users in the United States and United Kingdom last month. The feature is available on desktop, iOS, Android, and Android Auto.
It is a useful addition for sure. Previously, Google Maps only showed the charging stations available nearby but not if they had any available spaces. Such a feature should help users save time as they now know which charging station has a free spot available.
Moreover, users get other useful information as well, such as port types, charging speeds, available facilities and more. The listings also show photos, ratings, reviews and questions.