Google Maps And Lens Have The Potential To Change Search

Similar to voice and traditional search, Google views vision and images as fundamental shifts in search and computing.This year at the Google I/O event, the company announced a new version of Maps that goes beyond simple directions, and an updated version of Lens that will change search. 

The For You tab in the new version of Maps, scheduled for release this summer, has a newsfeed offering recommendations. It allows users to follow a specific neighborhood or city and analyze articles about local news. Google Maps identifies updates in that area, such as the opening of a new restaurant it will identify that in the saved feed.

The redesigned Explore tab serves those searching for information new and interesting details, with nearby dining venues, events and activities.

The Your Match feature estimates how likely the user will be to enjoy a specific place and provide reasons that the person might enjoy it. A number will appear based on what Google knows about the business, such as the menu items.

Google also said it will build augmented reality into Maps that combine the data and technology with Google’s Street View and a live feed from the user’s camera phone. It overlays walking directions on top of the real world image.

Google has made improvements to Lens. The tool announced last year at Google I/O for Pixel devices will expand the range of support for new devices it supports.

Lens, with help from the ability to semantically understand the meaning and context of words, will analyze text and provide pictures or background information to explain the image.

“Say you’re at a restaurant and see the name of a dish you don’t recognize — Lens will show you a picture to give you a better idea,” Rajan Patel, director of Google Lens, wrote in a blog post. “This requires not just recognizing shapes of letters, but also the meaning and context behind the words. This is where all our years of language understanding in Search help."

Lens also now shows lookalikes to those searching for information about an item. When recognized, Lens will serve up more information about that item in real time. The technology can serve the information instantly and link it to the things the user sees.

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