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Three new ways anyone can update Google Maps

by Kevin Reece on Mar.12, 2021, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA


With all the change our world saw over the past year, people are relying more than ever on high-quality, updated information about the places around them — like if a nearby restaurant is open or if a local grocery store has updated hours.

To make sure your map reflects the real world, we make it easy for anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge about more than 200 million places in Google Maps. These community-led updates help people everywhere make better decisions about what to do and where to go. And at the heart of the fresh information you see on Google Maps are Local Guides. This community of contributors who help others by updating Google Maps has reached a new milestone: 150 million Local Guides around the world. 

Today, we’re introducing three new Google Maps features that will help make sharing and finding local recommendations and information easier.


Leave reviews and updates as part of a community challenge

We see people showing love and support for local businesses in Google Search and Maps by leaving photos, writing reviews or updating factual information like a store’s new hours. We want to amplify that same local love with a feature we are now piloting.  

For the next month, most people using Android in the U.S. can join our first nationwide challenge to rally helpful reviews, photos and updates from sea to shining sea. Simply jump into the Contribute tab in Google Maps to join the “Local Love challenge” and add ratings, reviews and confirm information to support local businesses you’ve visited, from your go-to bakery to the neighborhood hardware store. Each contribution will count toward a collective goal of updating 100,000 businesses. We’ll use feedback on the Local Love challenge to guide future campaigns in more countries.

Image of the Local Love challenge in Google Maps

Join the Local Love challenge today to update 100,000 U.S. businesses on Google Maps

Share your latest experiences with photo updates on Maps

Seeing is believing and photos are a great way to learn more about a place. But sometimes you need a little more information, like if a restaurant’s outdoor dining area is shaded on hot days or how crowded a parking lot for a popular hiking trail can get on the weekends. At other times, you might just want to share a helpful tip on Google Maps without having to leave a rating or review.  In the coming weeks, we’ll roll out a new content type in Google Maps: photo updates — an easy way to find and share experiences and highlights with recent photos. A Google Maps photo update is a recent snapshot of a place with a short text description, without the need to leave a review or rating. 

Simply go to the “Updates” tab when you’re looking at a place in Google Maps to see the latest photos that merchants and other people have shared. To add your own update, tap the “upload a photo update” button, select your photos, leave a short description and post. You can post as many photos as you want and find photo updates that others have left in the Updates tab. 

An image of a photo update in Google Maps

Photo updates can help people make more informed decisions with a place’s most recent images

Draw new or missing roads on Maps 

We’ve made it easier for you to report road changes with a new, immersive desktop road editing tool. When you see a road missing on maps.google.com, simply click on the side menu button, go to “Edit the map”, and select “Missing Road.” Now the power to map is in your hands! 

Add missing roads by drawing lines, quickly rename roads, change road directionality, and realign or delete incorrect roads. You can even let us know if a road is closed with details like dates, reasons and directions. To make sure the suggestions and edits are accurate, we’ll vet contributed road updates before publishing them.

This feature is rolling out over the coming months in more than 80 countries where people can already report road updates on Google Maps.


A YouTube video demonstrating. the new desktop road editing tool in Google Maps
10:25

In more than 80 countries, people can easily edit roads on maps.google.com

A growing community on Google Maps

Since we launched the Local Guides program six years ago, Local Guides have contributed more than 70% of the reviews, photos and other types of user-generated content you see on Google Maps. They’re people like Leyley from Texas who is passionate about supporting small businesses, and Mahabub in Bangladesh who hosts local meet-ups focused on things like sustainability and supporting people during COVID-19.

An image of various Local Guides

Local Guides are instrumental in helping others through their contributions on Google Maps. Learn more about the Local Guides whose efforts we recently recognized and celebrated.

In 2020 alone, Local Guides added more than 8 million places to Google Maps, from local businesses and services to parks and plazas. And during a year where we saw much change, they went above and beyond and updated business attributes on more than 17 million places in Maps, like if a restaurant offers takeout or is open for dine-in.

If you’ve discovered something new in Google Maps or found helpful information about a place, chances are it was with the help of a Google Maps Local Guide.

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Google Maps 101: how contributed content makes a more helpful map

by Kevin Reece on Feb.20, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Recently, we gave you a behind-the-scenes look at how we map the world and use imagery to capture the meaningful details around us. Now we’re diving into how content contributed by our user community makes Google Maps a more helpful tool for everyday decision making, whether you’re looking for the best burrito in a new city or trying to find a local car mechanic in your neighborhood. 

Contributions create a more helpful map

When we look at the places around us, it’s clear that not all the information we see is online. Store hours get updated, new businesses open and menus rotate.

To ensure that our map reflects the real world, we enable anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge to approximately 200 million points of interest in Google Maps. In fact, everyday people submit more than 20 million contributions to Google Maps, from reviews and ratings to photos, answers to other users' questions, address updates and more. Ultimately, this helps people everywhere make better decisions about where to eat and shop, or things to do and see.

At a new restaurant and don’t know what to order? We can show you the most popular dishes for more than a million restaurants worldwide, made possible by photos and reviews other diners have added to the map. Looking for things to do nearby? In the “Explore” tab you can find recommended lists created by local experts and trusted publishers. 

Hundreds of millions of people each year contribute information that helps keep Google Maps up to date. We recently added a new “Contribute” tab to the app so people can more easily share their local knowledge. Each contribution goes a long way in helping others learn about new places and decide what to do.

Contribute tab in Google Maps

Use the new Contribute tab to easily share your local knowledge on Google Maps

It’s not just personal recommendations people are adding to the map. Each month, community contributions help us update factual information for businesses, roads and addresses around the planet. And thanks to contributions from the global Google Maps community, we’ve been able to add accessibility information, like wheelchair-friendly entrances and restrooms, for more than 15 million places around the planet, helping people with disabilities better navigate and explore their cities.

One of our most passionate groups of contributors is the 120 million Local Guides across 24,000 cities and towns who are committed to making information about their communities on Google Maps more helpful and accurate. See how one of these Local Guides, Adriano Anjos in São Paulo, is making a difference in people's lives by sharing information about blood donation centers on Google Maps:

Local Guide Adriano Anjos contributes information to Google Maps about blood donation centers in his city.

Ensuring the content you see is reliable

Like any platform that welcomes user-generated content, we have to remain vigilant against inappropriate content—the vast majority of which is removed before anyone actually sees it. And as more people contribute to Google Maps, we continue to crack down on the bad actors who violate our policies, using a combination of people and technology to tackle unwelcome content. 

For example, we use automated detection systems, including machine learning models, that scan the millions of contributions we receive each day to detect and remove policy-violating content. In the case of fake reviews, our systems check every single review before it gets published to Google Maps, looking for signs of fake content. Our machine learning models watch out for specific words and phrases, examine patterns in the types of content an account has contributed in the past, and can detect suspicious review patterns. 

While we’re constantly improving our automated systems, we know they’re not perfect as fake reviews can slip through from time to time. So we also deploy teams of trained operators and analysts who audit reviews, photos, business profiles and other types of content both individually and in bulk. And we provide a way for anyone to flag reviews, inappropriate content and misleading places for removal. 

Sorting through the 20 million contributions we receive each day (that’s more than 7 billion contributions a year), in 2019 alone, our technologies and teams:

  • Removed more than 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business profiles thanks to refinements in our machine learning models and automated detection systems which are getting better at blocking policy-violating content and detecting anomalies for our operators to review
  • Took down more than 580,000 reviews and 258,000 business profiles that were reported directly to us, as we make it easier for people to flag inappropriate content 
  • Reviewed and removed more than 10 million photos and 3 million videos that violated our content policies, as our operators and automated systems get better at catching policy-violating content, such as off-topic photos
  • Disabled more than 475,000 user accounts as we improve our machine learning detection capabilities and develop expanded policies and training for our operators

The vast majority of contributions made to Google Maps are authentic, with policy-violating content seen less than one percent of the time. And we’ll continue to develop new tools and techniques to fight against bad actors. 

Contributed content is an indispensable part of how we’re making Google Maps richer and more helpful for everyone. With people’s contributions, we’ve been building a truly helpful map that not only gets you from A to B, but also helps you find the places and experiences that are right for you, whether you need to tackle last-minute gift shopping or have a craving for pizza.

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Google Maps 101: how contributed content makes a more helpful map

by Kevin Reece on Feb.20, 2020, under 3D Models, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, California, Denmark, England, Germany, Google Earth News, Google Earth Tips, Google Sky, Google maps, Hawaii, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Natural Landmarks, Netherlands, Sightseeing, Street Views, USA

Recently, we gave you a behind-the-scenes look at how we map the world and use imagery to capture the meaningful details around us. Now we’re diving into how content contributed by our user community makes Google Maps a more helpful tool for everyday decision making, whether you’re looking for the best burrito in a new city or trying to find a local car mechanic in your neighborhood. 

Contributions create a more helpful map

When we look at the places around us, it’s clear that not all the information we see is online. Store hours get updated, new businesses open and menus rotate.

To ensure that our map reflects the real world, we enable anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge to approximately 200 million points of interest in Google Maps. In fact, everyday people submit more than 20 million contributions to Google Maps, from reviews and ratings to photos, answers to other users' questions, address updates and more. Ultimately, this helps people everywhere make better decisions about where to eat and shop, or things to do and see.

At a new restaurant and don’t know what to order? We can show you the most popular dishes for more than a million restaurants worldwide, made possible by photos and reviews other diners have added to the map. Looking for things to do nearby? In the “Explore” tab you can find recommended lists created by local experts and trusted publishers. 

Hundreds of millions of people each year contribute information that helps keep Google Maps up to date. We recently added a new “Contribute” tab to the app so people can more easily share their local knowledge. Each contribution goes a long way in helping others learn about new places and decide what to do.

Contribute tab in Google Maps

Use the new Contribute tab to easily share your local knowledge on Google Maps

It’s not just personal recommendations people are adding to the map. Each month, community contributions help us update factual information for businesses, roads and addresses around the planet. And thanks to contributions from the global Google Maps community, we’ve been able to add accessibility information, like wheelchair-friendly entrances and restrooms, for more than 15 million places around the planet, helping people with disabilities better navigate and explore their cities.

One of our most passionate groups of contributors is the 120 million Local Guides across 24,000 cities and towns who are committed to making information about their communities on Google Maps more helpful and accurate. See how one of these Local Guides, Adriano Anjos in São Paulo, is making a difference in people's lives by sharing information about blood donation centers on Google Maps:

Local Guide Adriano Anjos contributes information to Google Maps about blood donation centers in his city.

Ensuring the content you see is reliable

Like any platform that welcomes user-generated content, we have to remain vigilant against inappropriate content—the vast majority of which is removed before anyone actually sees it. And as more people contribute to Google Maps, we continue to crack down on the bad actors who violate our policies, using a combination of people and technology to tackle unwelcome content. 

For example, we use automated detection systems, including machine learning models, that scan the millions of contributions we receive each day to detect and remove policy-violating content. In the case of fake reviews, our systems check every single review before it gets published to Google Maps, looking for signs of fake content. Our machine learning models watch out for specific words and phrases, examine patterns in the types of content an account has contributed in the past, and can detect suspicious review patterns. 

While we’re constantly improving our automated systems, we know they’re not perfect as fake reviews can slip through from time to time. So we also deploy teams of trained operators and analysts who audit reviews, photos, business profiles and other types of content both individually and in bulk. And we provide a way for anyone to flag reviews, inappropriate content and misleading places for removal. 

Sorting through the 20 million contributions we receive each day (that’s more than 7 billion contributions a year), in 2019 alone, our technologies and teams:

  • Removed more than 75 million policy-violating reviews and 4 million fake business profiles thanks to refinements in our machine learning models and automated detection systems which are getting better at blocking policy-violating content and detecting anomalies for our operators to review
  • Took down more than 580,000 reviews and 258,000 business profiles that were reported directly to us, as we make it easier for people to flag inappropriate content 
  • Reviewed and removed more than 10 million photos and 3 million videos that violated our content policies, as our operators and automated systems get better at catching policy-violating content, such as off-topic photos
  • Disabled more than 475,000 user accounts as we improve our machine learning detection capabilities and develop expanded policies and training for our operators

The vast majority of contributions made to Google Maps are authentic, with policy-violating content seen less than one percent of the time. And we’ll continue to develop new tools and techniques to fight against bad actors. 

Contributed content is an indispensable part of how we’re making Google Maps richer and more helpful for everyone. With people’s contributions, we’ve been building a truly helpful map that not only gets you from A to B, but also helps you find the places and experiences that are right for you, whether you need to tackle last-minute gift shopping or have a craving for pizza.

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