My Google Map Blog

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For National Parks Week, plan a trip with Google Maps

by Alicia Cormie on Apr.15, 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

I’ve ticked a lot of National Parks off my travel bucket list this past year. As parks started to reopen, I planned outdoor trips instead of international ones. And at the end of last year, my boyfriend and I packed up our apartments to cruise around the Southwest in a borrowed camper van. Along the way, Google Maps helped us plan out our days. 

In Utah, we went to some of the most searched for National Parks — like Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park. We used Google Maps to scope out the most scenic driving routes and save campsites, viewpoints and trailheads. The best part? We could access everything even if we were in areas that had spotty service since we downloaded Maps to use when we were offline. This came in handy when we were trying to find a campground at Bryce Canyon — a total dead zone for our cells — and at Arches where we perfectly timed our day to catch sunset at Delicate Arch (the infamous arch on the state’s license plate). In New Mexico, we used popular times information on Google Maps to avoid the crowds — thanks to this intel it felt like we had White Sands National Park all to ourselves early on a weekday. 

Saturday marks the first day of National Parks Week, which I’ve deemed as a welcomed excuse to start planning your next outdoor adventure. (I’ve been eyeing Big Bend National Park). If you’re looking for some travel inspiration, Google Maps dug into data from the past year to help get you started! 

Man standing on sand dunes at White Sands National Park.


Popular times to hit the popular parks 

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Maps tips for the adventurer, foodie and go-getter in you

by Kayla Geier on Apr.01, 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

Whether you’re hunting down the best hole-in-the wall restaurant on your block, planning a cross-country road trip that hits your favorite national parks or in the mood to tackle your to-do list, Google Maps is here to help you play and plan. 

Here are Google Maps tips — including features new and old — for the modern foodie, adventurer and go-getter in you. 

The modern foodie

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Redefining what a map can be with new information and AI

by Dane Glasgow on Mar.30, 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

Sixteen years ago, many of us held a printout of directions in one hand and the steering wheel in the other to get around— without information about the traffic along your route or details about when your favorite restaurant was open. Since then, we’ve been pushing the boundaries of what a map can do, propelled by the latest machine learning. This year, we’re on track to bring over 100 AI-powered improvements to Google Maps so you can get the most accurate, up-to-date information about the world, exactly when you need it. Here's a snapshot of how we're using AI to make Maps work better for you with a number of updates coming this year.

Navigate indoors with Live View

We all know that awkward moment when you're walking in the opposite direction of where you want to go — Live View uses AR cues to avoid just that. Live View is powered by a technology called global localization, which uses AI to scan tens of billions of Street View images to understand your orientation. Thanks to new advancements that help us understand the precise altitude and placement of objects inside a building, we’re now able to bring Live View to some of the trickiest-to-navigate places indoors: airports, transit stations and malls. 


If you’re catching a plane or train, Live View can help you find the nearest elevator and escalators, your gate, platform, baggage claim, check-in counters, ticket office, restrooms, ATMs and more. Arrows and accompanying directions will point you the right way. And if you need to pick something up from the mall, use Live View to see what floor a store is on and how to get there so you can get in and out in a snap. Indoor Live View is live now on Android and iOS in a number of malls in Chicago, Long Island, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle. It starts rolling out in the coming months in select airports, malls, and transit stations in Tokyo and Zurich, with more cities on the way. 

Indoor live view 2

Find your way inside airports, train stations, and malls with Indoor Live View

Plan ahead with more information about weather and air quality 

With the new weather layer, you can quickly see current and forecasted temperature and weather conditions in an area — so you’ll never get caught in the rain without an umbrella. And the new air quality layer shows you how healthy (or unhealthy) the air is —  information that’s especially helpful if you have allergies or are in a smoggy or fire-prone area. Data from partners like The Weather Company, AirNow.gov and the Central Pollution Control Board power these layers that start rolling out on Android and iOS in the coming months. The weather layer will be available globally and the air quality layer will launch in Australia, India, and the U.S., with more countries to come. 

Head outside with the new weather and air quality layers

See helpful air quality and weather information with new layers in Google Maps

Find more eco-friendly options to get around

With insights from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Lab, we’re building a new routing model that optimizes for lower fuel consumption based on factors like road incline and traffic congestion. This is all part of the commitment we made last September to help one billion people who use our products take action to reduce their environmental footprint. Soon, Google Maps will default to the route with the lowest carbon footprint when it has approximately the same ETA as the fastest route. In cases where the eco-friendly route could significantly increase your ETA, we’ll let you compare the relative CO2 impact between routes so you can choose. Always want the fastest route? That’s OK too — simply adjust your preferences in Settings. Eco-friendly routes launch in the U.S. on Android and iOS later this year, with a global expansion on the way.

Eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprint

More eco-friendly routes let you choose the route with the lowest carbon footprint

From Amsterdam to Jakarta, cities around the world have established low emission zones — areas that restrict polluting vehicles like certain diesel cars or cars with specific emissions stickers —  to help keep the air clean. To support these efforts, we’re working on alerts to help drivers better understand when they’ll be navigating through one of these zones. You can quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route. Low emission zone alerts launch this June in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the UK on Android and iOS, with more countries coming soon. 

Low emission zone alerts launch in

Quickly know if your vehicle is allowed in the area, choose an alternative mode of transportation, or take another route with low emission zone alerts

But we know that getting around sustainably goes beyond driving. So we’re making it easier to choose more sustainable options when you’re on the go. Soon you’ll get a comprehensive view of all routes and transportation modes available to your destination — you can compare how long it’ll take to get there by car, transit or bike without toggling between tabs. Using advanced machine learning models, Maps will automatically prioritize your preferred modes  — and even boost modes that are popular in your city. For example, if you bike a lot, we’ll automatically show you more biking routes. And if you live in a city like New York, London, Tokyo, or Buenos Aires where taking the subway is popular, we’ll rank that mode higher. This rolls out globally in the coming months on Android and iOS.

new directions experience

Easily compare different routes and modes of transportation with the new directions experience

Save time with curbside grocery pickup on Maps

Delivery and curbside pickup have grown in popularity during the pandemic — they’re convenient and minimize contact. To make this process easier, we’re bringing helpful shopping information to stores’ Business Profiles on Maps and Search, like delivery providers, pickup and delivery windows, fees, and order minimums. We’re rolling this out on mobile Search starting with Instacart and Albertsons Cos. stores in the U.S., with plans to expand to Maps and other partners.

pickup and delivery actions

Check out helpful information about grocery delivery providers, pickup and delivery windows, fees, and order minimums

This summer, we’re also teaming up with U.S. supermarket Fred Meyer, a division of The Kroger Co., on a pilot in select stores in Portland, Oregon to make grocery pickup easier. After you place an order for pickup on the store’s app, you can add it to Maps. We’ll send you a notification when it’s time to leave, and let you share your arrival time with the store. Your ETA is continuously updated, based on location and traffic. This helps the store prioritize your order so it’s ready as soon as you get there. Check in on the Google Maps app, and they’ll bring your order right out for a seamless, fast, no-contact pickup. 

pickup with google maps

Track your grocery order status, share your ETA, and let the store know you've arrived - all from Google Maps

All of these updates are possible thanks to AI advancements that have transformed Google Maps into a map that can reflect the millions of changes made around the world every day —  in the biggest cities and the smallest towns. Whether you’re getting around, exploring an area, or knocking out errands, let Google Maps help you find your way.

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A Local Guide uses Google Maps to help those without homes

by Molly on Mar.13, 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

When Ashley Sundquist moved to Santa Monica, California four years ago, she noticed something different from the other places she’d lived. “I’ve lived in big cities much of my adult life; I’ve lived in Washington, D.C., Rome and New York City,” she says, “and none of those places prepared me for how many people here in Santa Monica are unhoused.” Santa Monica is part of the greater Los Angeles area, and according to city statistics, 907 people experience homelessness on any given night in the city; if you widen the area to include all of L.A., that number skyrockets to approximately 66,000. 

During her morning commute, Ashley noticed how many people were living outside and gathering at the Santa Monica Public Library. Her gym was next door, and eventually, Ashley started crossing the street to say hello. Soon, she’d made connections with library employees and the people without homes who gathered there, and she began looking for ways to help. 

She also became friends with a man named Joe, an unhoused member of the community who was often at the library. Joe mentioned he struggled with getting lost, which inspired her to turn to Google Maps and the app’s list feature. You can use this to create a list of places, like your favorite restaurants or places you want to visit on vacation. As an active member of the Local Guides program, a global community of contributors on Google Maps, Ashley was no stranger to sharing helpful information about her community with others.

So Ashley started creating lists for people in need. She made lists of resources for young people experiencing homelessness, food banks and restaurants that accept EBT cards. To make things even easier to find, Ashley bought  the domains “lashelters.org” and “lashelters.com,” which send visitors to these lists. “Now when anybody in the world goes to one of those websites, they’ll see these maps,” Ashley says. Joe and Ashley also became friends, and he helped get the word out about the websites. 

Screenshot of Ashley’s Google Maps list for youth resources in L.A.

Ashley’s Google Maps list for youth resources in L.A.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Ashley had to pivot. Right away she volunteered her time to teach caseworkers (via Google Meet) how to create their own lists in Google Maps. “I walked them through step-by-step how to search for locations, update the description and share the URL,” she says. She also created a list to help people find free Wi-Fi after many restaurants, coffee shops and other places that offer internet access closed their doors, and another list to help people find transportation to shelters when COVID-19 precautions altered bus schedules. 

Still, things changed so dramatically so quickly; she wanted to do more. “Toward the end of last March, I realized things weren’t going to go back to the way they were anytime soon. I knew how our outreach efforts were going to have to be different.” She started consulting with local agencies to gather information for more lists, or update the ones she’d already made with new COVID-19-related restrictions, changing hours or other stipulations. 

“I hope this can help people get through their day with dignity and humanity. That’s what we’re all trying to do right now.”

Eventually she wanted to try getting the information she’d gathered out in person. In May, she started volunteering at a weekly dinner serving some 150 unhoused neighbors at her local Salvation Army. Soon, she began leading dinners and helped her church get more involved. “We have 20 or so volunteers, with masks, temperature checks, distanced, all of that,” she says. “It’s a huge undertaking but I feel like it gives me a captive audience. Our team can bring a little light and love into a very dark place. We can help people find local resources on the Google Maps lists.”

Ashley looks through Google Maps lists with her friend Joe, whom she met through her work with unhoused people. Joe is also an advocate for his community.

Ashley looks through Google Maps lists with her friend Joe, whom she met through her work with unhoused people. Joe is also an advocate for his community.

Ashley greets everyone as they wait in line for their meal and makes an effort to learn names. “It might be the only time someone speaks to them or uses their name that week,” she explains. “I really work to build a rapport so then I can say to them, ‘Oh I see you’re having trouble getting this or finding that.’” Then she takes out her phone and shares her Google Maps lists on the spot. Ashely notes that many people without homes have smartphones, which act as their lifelines, but if she’s speaking with someone without one, Ashley uses her own to access her lists to call and try to help get them what they need — whether it’s a spot at a shelter or a no-cost doctor appointment.

“People are dealing with homelessness, trauma, hunger, mental health issues, technology barriers...I feel like the least I can do is make the available resources easier to find  with a Google Maps list,” she says. 

Ashley’s hope is that her neighbors feel seen and cared for, and that the Google Maps lists help them meet their basic needs. “I don’t think people realize how tremendously difficult it is to get help when you’re experiencing homelessness,” she says. “I hope this can help people get through their day with dignity and humanity. That’s what we’re all trying to do right now.” 

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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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Your Android is now even safer — and 5 other new features

by Hideaki Oshima on Feb.24, 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

It wasn't all that long ago that we introduced Android users to features like Emoji Kitchen and auto-narrated audiobooks. But we like to stay busy, so today we're highlighting six of the latest Google updates that will make Android phones more secure and convenient — for everyone.

1. Keep your accounts safe with Password Checkup on Android

Password Checkup notification screen

Password Checkup notification screen

On Android, you can save passwords to your Google account, making it quicker and easier to sign into your apps and services using Autofill. Your login credentials are one of your first lines of defense against intruders, so we’ve integrated Password Checkup into devices running Android 9 and above. This feature lets you know if the password you used has been previously exposed and what to do about it.


Now when you enter a password into an app on your phone using Autofill with Google, we’ll check those credentials against a list of known compromised passwords — that is, passwords that have potentially already been stolen and posted on the web. If your credentials show up on one of these lists, we’ll alert you and guide you to check your password and change it. 


Learn more on our support page about changing unsafe passwords. And you can find additional information about how this product works in this blog post.


We’re passionate about building defense into every detail on Android, from downloading apps to browsing the web to choosing where and when you share your data. Learn more about how Android keeps you safe.

2. Use schedule send in Messages to write a text now and send it later

Schedule a text to send it at your chosen date and time

Click on the image above to learn how to schedule a text to send at your chosen date and time

Over half a billion people across the world use Messages to seamlessly and safely connect with family, friends and others every month. To continue  improving the way you communicate and help you stay in touch, we’re starting to roll out schedule send in Messages for phones running Android 7 and newer. 


Having loved ones in another time zone or on a different schedule can sometimes make it difficult to send a text at an appropriate time. With schedule send, you can compose a message ahead of time when it’s convenient for you, and schedule it to send at the right moment. Just write your message as you normally would, then hold and press the send button to select a date and time to deliver your message. Download Messages or update to the latest version to schedule your next text.

3. No need to look at your screen, with TalkBack

Start and stop media with Talkback gestures

Click on the image above to see how to start and stop media with Talkback gestures 

For those who are blind or have trouble seeing the display, the new version of TalkBack, Android’s screen reader, is now available. Using spoken feedback and gestures, TalkBack makes Android even more accessible and opens up a full phone experience without needing to look at your screen. We worked closely with the blind and low vision communities on this revamp of TalkBack to incorporate the most popularly requested features including: more intuitive gestures, a unified menu, a new reading control menu and more. Get TalkBack today by downloading or updating your Android accessibility apps in the Google Play Store.

4. Get more done hands-free with Google Assistant

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

Use Google Assistant to send a text, even when your phone is locked

We want to give you more ways to use your phone hands-free — so you can do things like use your voice to make calls, set timers or alarms and play music. Now, the latest updates to Google Assistant make it easier to get things done on your phone without needing to be right next to it.


Assistant now works better even when your phone is locked or across the room with new cards that can be read with just a glance. Just say “Hey Google, set an alarm” or “Hey Google, play pop music on Spotify.” To get the most out of Assistant when your phone is locked, simply turn on Lock Screen Personal Results in Assistant setting and say “Hey Google '' to send text messages and make calls.

5. Come to the dark side with dark theme in Google Maps 

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

San Francisco on Google Maps dark theme

These days, we’re all experiencing a bit of screen fatigue. With dark theme in Google Maps soon expanding to all Android users globally, you can give your eyes a much-needed break and save on battery life. Simply head to your Settings, tap on Theme and then on “Always in Dark Theme” to lower the lights when you’re navigating, exploring, or getting things done with Maps. Change your mind? Just tap on “Always in Light Theme” to switch it back.

6. A better drive with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Stay entertained with voice-activated games on your display with Android Auto

Android Auto’s new features help you enjoy the drive more. With custom wallpapers, you can now select from a variety of car-inspired backgrounds to personalize your car display. For longer drives, you and your passengers can stay entertained with voice-activated games like trivia and “Jeopardy!” Just say, “Hey Google, play a game” to get started. 


We’ve also launched shortcuts on the launch screen. These provide convenient access to your contacts and even allow you to use Assistant to complete tasks like checking the weather or remotely adjusting the thermostat by simply tapping on the icon on your car display, just as you would on your phone. For cars with wider screens, you can do more with a split-screen that features a real-time view of Google Maps and media controls. And if you have family and friends coming along for the ride, you can now set a privacy screen to control when Android Auto appears on your car display. 


These Android Auto features will be available in the coming days on phones running Android 6.0 or above, and when connected to your compatible car.

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How one trailblazer uses Maps to explore the outdoors

by Katie McBroom on Feb.24, 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

Lydia Kluge is an active member of the Google Maps Local Guides community, the everyday people passionate about sharing their experiences on Maps. In 2020, she added more than 1,100 contributions on Google Maps in the form of reviews, photos, and places. Coincidentally, Lydia also hiked, ran, and biked 1,100 miles last year. All those adventures earned her the well-deserved Expert Trailblazer and Expert Fact Finder badges on Google Maps.


But Lydia’s journey has been full of adventures long before 2020. Originally from England, Lydia landed in Utah in 2005 for what was meant to be a six-month stint as a ski instructor. She’s been there ever since after falling in love with (and on) the slopes where she met her now-husband.


Over the past fifteen years, the couple traveled to over 30 countries. Along the way, Lydia used Google Maps to find hidden gems — from the best restaurants in Paris to snorkeling spots in Australia.


In 2019, Lydia and her husband welcomed their beautiful baby girl into their family and couldn’t wait to travel with her. But COVID-19 changed their international jet-setting plans. Like many of us, Lydia’s spending more time closer to home. She’s explored Utah's mountains, deserts, and national and state parks. And, just like in her international travels, Google Maps has been her companion. She’s added and reviewed dozens of nature trails, trailheads, and parks, and created lists of family-friendly activities in Utah. “One thing I've missed about working outside of the home is how I can contribute to others and my community,” Lydia said. “Adding these things to Google Maps is a way I can give back.”


Here are Lydia’s tips on how to use Google Maps to explore natural attractions near you:


Find parks and hiking trails on Google Maps

Search outdoor terms like “hiking trails” or “parks near me” to find nearby treks. For most hiking trails, you’ll be able to find ratings, reviews and photos from other hikers. Some may also have useful details like open hours and phone numbers. You can also use the Lists feature on Google Maps to see curated recommendations, like Lydia’s Things to See and Do in St. George and Food and Fun in Park City. Simply search for a town and scroll down to see Featured Lists.
A photo of a search for hiking trails in Google Maps

Use the search bar in Google Maps to find things to do, like hiking trails nearby or in a specific town or city

Quickly sort through reviews to find popular topics or search for specific words

Lydia leaves detailed reviews on parks and hikes with searchable terms like “family,” “steep,” or “kid-friendly.” Search for specific words to quickly sort through reviews and get a better sense of the place. If you want an idea of what most people are talking about, you can see a list of popular keywords in reviews — from “banana slug” and “poison ivy” to “parking lot” and “sunset.”
An image showing popular topics in Google Maps reviews

You can see what the popular topics are for hikes and places by seeing the most common keywords. Tap a topic to see what people are saying.

Preview your trek with photos

Lydia has left more than 3,500 photos on Google Maps that have been viewed more than 25 million times. To get a sense of what your outdoor trip will look like, browse photos that people like Lydia have uploaded. Sort photos to see the latest, pan through Street View and 360-degree images, and even see videos. Pay it forward to the next trekker and leave photos of what made your hike memorable.
A photo of the castle-like rock formations at Turret Arch in Moab, Utah.

A photo of the castle-like rock formations at Turret Arch in Moab, Utah.

Add and update hiking areas yourself

Some trails may not have  traditional signage and could be hard to find. If you know where an unmarked (or poorly marked) trailhead is, you can confirm that the pin locations are in the appropriate spot. To do so, open your Google Maps app and navigate to the place. Tap “suggest an edit” to update information about the hiking area.
An image of a hiking trail added to Google Maps by Lydia

Lydia added Limber Pine Nature Trail to Google Maps

To follow Lydia’s adventures, check out and follow her Google Maps profile.

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A look at how we tackle fake and fraudulent contributed content

by Dan Pritchett on Feb.19, 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

For many of us, Google Maps is the place we go for information about the world around us. We search for businesses, seek directions, check photos and read reviews. 


One way Maps is kept accurate and reliable is through updates that everyday people add. Since we started accepting contributed content in 2010, more than 970 million people have updated Google Maps in the form of reviews, photos, ratings and factual information like addresses and business hours. These contributions allow Google Maps to keep up with the world constantly changing around us and also help people make more informed decisions.


Just as Google Maps is a reflection of the real-world, so are the people that contribute to it. The same neighbor who lends a hand could also be writing witty reviews of local restaurants. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Just as there are bad actors in the real-world, there are those who try to game Google Maps with inappropriate content — the vast majority of which is removed before you see it.


While much of our work to prevent inappropriate content is done behind the scenes, we wanted to share some detail about our investments and progress in keeping Google Maps reliable and trustworthy. 


How we single out the bad actors

Bad actors try to mislead people through a variety of techniques, from fake reviews that attack a business to inauthentic ratings that boost a place’s reputation. Fighting this unhelpful content is a complex, ceaseless battle — one that we rarely detail publicly so as to not tip off scammers to our ever-changing techniques.


One of the best tools we have to fight back is an understanding of what normal, authentic Google Maps usage looks like. For example, we know that the average person is likely to use Google Maps while navigating a commute or road trip, and while searching for nearby restaurants or services. They’ll leave reviews at places they’ve been, and usually add ratings or photos in location-specific clusters.


Observations like these inform our machine learning algorithms, which scan millions of daily contributions. These algorithms detect and remove policy-violating content across a variety of languages, and also scan for signals of abnormal user activity. For instance, they can detect if a new Google Maps account in say, Bangkok, suddenly leaves bad car dealership reviews in Mexico City and 1-star restaurant ratings in Chicago. The policy-violating content is either removed by our automated models or flagged for further review, along with the user account.


We also deploy thousands of trained operators and analysts who help with content evaluations that might be difficult for algorithms, such as understanding reviews with local slang.


Who are the bad actors and how do we stop them? 

Our teams and protections are built to fight two main types of bad actors: content fraudsters and content vandals.


Fraudsters, who are ultimately motivated by money, try to trick people with scams like fake reviews to attract customers or fake listings to generate business leads. To deter them, we preemptively remove opportunities for them to profit off of fake content. 


For example, we have focused efforts on detecting content coming from click farms where fake reviews and ratings are being generated. Through better detection of click farm activity we are making it harder to post fake content cheaply, which ultimately makes it harder for a click farm to sell reviews and make money. And to catch fake business profiles before they appear on Maps, we've strengthened our Google My Business verification processes with new machine learning models that help identify fraudulent engagement. By fighting large-scale efforts to create fake business profiles, we’ve stymied millions of attempts from fraudsters aiming to steal customers from legitimate businesses by crowding them out of search results. 


Then there are content vandals, who may be motivated by social and political events or simply want to leave their mark online. For example, they post fake reviews or edit the names of places to send a message, and they add off-topic photos as pranks.


Content vandalism can be more difficult to tackle as it’s often random. For instance, a teenager who posts an off-topic photo to their high school’s listing on Maps as a joke or someone who left profanity in a nonsensical review.


Impeding content vandals comes down to anticipation and quick reaction. As places become more prone to vandalism, we adjust our defenses. For instance, last year we quickly modified our algorithms to preemptively block racist reviews when we observed anti-Chinese xenophobia associated with COVID-19. To avoid the spread of election-related misinformation, we limited the ability for people to edit the phone numbers, addresses and other information for places like voting sites. And we restricted reviews for certain places where we saw higher rates of policy-violating content, like schools in the U.S. 


Our progress in fighting unwelcome content

With the help of people and technology that closely monitor Maps 24/7, we’re able to take swift action against scammers, ranging from content removal and account suspension to litigation. In 2020 alone, we took the following actions to ensure the content you see in Google Maps is reliable:

  • We blocked or removed 55 million policy-violating reviews and nearly 3 million fake Business Profiles. This is 20 million fewer reviews than we removed in 2019 as we saw a drop in the overall number of reviews due to fewer people being out and about during COVID-19.
  • We took down more than 960,000 reviews and more than 300,000 Business Profiles that were reported to us by Google Maps users. This is an increase over 2019 largely due to increased use of automated moderation which complements the manual review of flagged content performed by operators and analysts.
  • We reviewed and removed more than 160 million photos and 3.5 million videos that either violated our policies or were of low quality. For example, thanks to advancements in our automated systems, we’ve significantly improved our detection of photos that were extremely blurry. This has led to major improvements in the quality of photos on Maps - both new photos added and ones shared in years past. And as we more aggressively targeted bad actors overall, account removals could lead to deletion of all content left by one account, in some cases thousands of photos.
  • Our technologies and teams disabled more than 610,000 user accounts after detecting and investigating suspicious or policy-violating behavior.  
  • We stopped more than 3 million attempts by bad actors to verify Business Profiles on Google that didn’t belong to them.

Content contributed by our users is an important part of how we continue to make Google Maps more helpful and accurate for everyone. As more people share their local knowledge on Google Maps, we’ll continue to invest in the policies, technologies and resources needed to make sure information is reliable.


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All aboard: More ways to pay for parking and transit

by Vishal Dutta on Feb.17, 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

People all over the world turn to Google Maps to get things done — especially during the pandemic. From booking an online yoga class to ordering takeout from your favorite restaurant —Google Maps is a powerful sidekick that lets you accomplish tasks all throughout your day. Today, we have new tools in collaboration with Google Pay to help you get more done when you’re on the go: the ability to pay for street parking and transit fares right from Google Maps, without ever taking out your wallet. 


Keep it clean and easy 

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8 ways you can control your Maps experience

by Traci Cappiello on Feb.10, 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

Today on Safer Internet Day, I’m sharing some handy tips on how you can be more in control of your Google Maps experience and help other people find great places around them.


I’ve been a Google Maps program manager since 2012, and have explained a lot of the features in Maps to our global community of Local Guides, the everyday people who are passionate about sharing their experiences on Google Maps. And I’m a huge Google Maps devotee and superuser myself. Over the last 11(!) years, I’ve posted more than 2,000 reviews and gathered more than 275 million views on my Maps photos. So if there’s a feature in Google Maps, chances are I’ve used it.


From built-in protections in Google Maps to easy-to-use setting and privacy tools, here are 8 tips for features I use that will help you maximize your Maps experience:


1. Manage your Google Maps profile

To keep you in control of your data, Google Maps has built-in settings so you can easily manage and personalize your Google Maps profile. You can update your settingsto not show your reviews, photos, and posts on your public Maps profile. 


2. Easily change your display name

While I’m not a famous restaurant critic or celebrity, I like that I can control when and where I use my last name, so that I’m just “Traci” on Google Maps. You, too, can easily change your display name across Google products and services. Go ahead, pick your nom de plume


3. Respect the privacy of others in photos 

Photos are my absolute favorite way to contribute to Google Maps. One thing I’m always careful to do is to not post photos that show the faces of people nearby. Plus, I’d rather see a place’s decor or accessibility information over a bunch of strangers ;)  


4. Report questionable content

From reviews and ratings to photos and listings, the vast majority of the information other people add to Maps is helpful and accurate. But if you ever come across a review or a business listing that looks odd or inappropriate, you can quickly report the content or the person who posted it.


5. Share your location with your inner circle

Even though I’m not traveling as often as I used to, when I do, I like to share my real-time locationwith my closest friends and family so someone always knows where I am. I also love that they can follow along with my travels when I visit a new country.


6. Manage your Timeline

Timeline is a handy feature in Maps that helps you see places you’ve been if you’ve opted to turn your Location Historysetting on (it’s off by default). With it, I’m able to easily reminisce about past trips (remember traveling?!) and share recommendations with friends and family. With tools like bulk delete and in-line edits, you can easily add, edit or deletethe information in your Timeline with just a few taps. 


7. Easily access key Google Account settings and auto-delete controls

I love that I don’t have to leave Google Maps to control my Google account settings. With Your data in Maps, you can quickly access your Location History, Web & App Activity, and other Google privacy controls, right from Maps. You can also use auto-delete controls to save only 3 or 18 months worth of data - all data older than that is automatically deleted on a rolling basis. 


8. Go Incognito

It can be helpful having personalized experiences across Google products, but if you prefer to fly under the radar, try Incognito mode in Maps. With it, your Maps activity on that device, like the places you search for, won’t be saved to your Google Account or used to personalize your Maps experience. You can easily turn on Incognito mode by selecting it from the menu that appears when you tap your profile photo. And you can turn it off at any time to return to a personalized experience with restaurant recommendations, information about your commute, and other features tailored to you.



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