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Google Maps generative AI discovery tool coming to Labs (APK teardown)

Google is expanding the feature's availability to everyone who wants to opt-in.

Published onApril 23, 2024

Google Maps GPS Nagivation stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Soon everyone will be able to use generative AI in Google Maps through Labs.
  • The Maps feature was announced in February but was initially only available to select Local Guides.
  • Google’s AI provides suggestions based on information from nearby businesses and places, plus photos, ratings, and reviews from the Maps community.

If you remember, Google announced at the beginning of February that the Maps app would start taking advantage of generative AI. This feature launched in early access for select Local Guides, but it seems like it could soon be available to everyone.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Looking through strings of code in the latest Google Maps beta, we discovered mentions of the generative AI experiment heading to Labs. If you’re unfamiliar, Labs is the place where anybody can sign up to try out Google’s latest AI tools and experiments. This means the feature will no longer be exclusive to just Local Guides.

<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_HEADER_1">Let Maps be your guide, now with generative AI</string>

<string name="SUGGEST_PROMO_SUBTITLE">Generative AI experiment from Labs</string>

<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_BODY_1">Supercharge your search with generative AI. Find new ideas, inspiration, and adventures in faster,
easier ways.</string>

<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_BODY_2">"This is an early experiment and Maps won't always get it right. With your feedback, it'll get better
every day. %1$s"</string>

<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_BODY_3">"To continue to improve quality, some data around your usage, queries, and location may be
reviewed later by humans, but it's not associated with your Google account."</string>

<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_BODY_4">If %1$s is off, searches using generative AI are temporarily stored and associated with your
account for up to 24 hours to provide a contextualized experience.</string>
<string name="MG_TERMS_OF_SERVICE_BODY_5">If you continue, you agree to the %1$s terms of service. To turn off search using generative AI,
visit Labs in settings.</string>

As Google explained during the announcement, this feature allows you to use AI to help you discover places. The tech giant offered the example of trying to find vintage places in San Francisco. All you would need to do is ask Maps, and it would provide suggestions based on information from nearby businesses and places, as well as photos, ratings, and reviews from the Maps community.

The results are separated into helpful categories — like clothing stores, vinyl shops, and flea markets — along with photo carousels and reviews. You can also ask follow-up questions — like asking it to find lunch destinations — to get results that relate to the theme.

Unfortunately, there’s no information on when to expect the feature to land in Labs. We’ll have to wait and keep an eye out for an announcement.

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