If you’ve ever tried in vain to figure out whether or not a local restaurant takes reservations, or spent hours researching the perfect hiking trail only to arrive and find it closed for maintenance, you understand the unique hassle of living in a society. Things are always changing! It’s all terribly confusing and inconvenient — particularly now that coronavirus is here to run businesses ragged and make a real mess out of things.
Luckily, Google Maps announced a new community feed feature on Monday that will allow users greater insight into what’s happening at their favorite local spots. Located in the app’s Explore tab, the feed will feature “updates and recommendations from trusted local sources,” including “the latest reviews, photos and posts.”
Per a blog post published by Google on Monday:
Wondering if your favorite Mexican restaurant has added a new dish to the menu? If you follow them on Maps, you’ll get their updates in your feed. Looking for a new nearby hike or a popular day trip near your city? Browse the feed for top recommendations of things to do from Google Maps users in that area. By panning and zooming the map, you can find helpful information for almost any location in the world, thanks to contributions from in-the-know locals.
The new feature will allow users to curate feeds by following their favorite local spots, which will essentially subscribe them to running updates compiled by “local experts.” Once those preferences are set, the feed will also tailor future recommendations to users’ tastes, meaning you’ll see suggestions for restaurants and other businesses that are similar to the ones you already follow.
In an update that seems to be in direct response to the unique challenges COVID-19 has posed to businesses, the community feed will also allow owners to interface with customers directly by posting “current offerings and operations, like takeout and delivery options, new online services and the safety precautions they’re taking.”
The community feed is available now on Google Maps for all Android and iOS devices globally — if you don’t see it yet, check your phone for updates.