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How Google Is Trying to Make Maps More Informative

A man holds a smartphone, with the Google Maps app open, in SarajevoA man holds a smartphone, with the Google Maps app open, in Sarajevo
A man holds a smartphone, with the Google Maps app open, in Sarajevo, April 15, 2015. Dado Ruvic — Reuters

Google wants to improve the accuracy and breadth of the information on Google Maps about things like restaurants and shops.

The Internet giant announced on Thursday that it added new options for suggesting edits to business and landmark entries when people search for places via Google Search as well as for adding new locations when people use the Google Maps app on Android or iOS.

Android users can now add more information about places, such as if a restaurant offers vegetarian food, has a “great beer selection,” or is particularly popular for meals at certain times of the day.

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“Knowing these types of details helps us build a deeper understanding of a place so we can better help users find the places most relevant to them,” wrote Google Maps product manager Nirav Mehta in a blog post.

Importantly, given that it is making it easier for people to add places of interest and information about them, Google is also including a safety net. When people suggest edits, they will go to other iPhone and Android users for verification before showing up as fact for the general public.

“Once enough votes are received to be confident that the suggestion is accurate, it’s published to the map,” Mehta explained.

For more on Google Maps, watch:

Google has occasionally had trouble in the past over user-submitted edits to Maps. Last year, the firm had to suspend its Map Maker service for a couple months after episodes of vandalism, such as the addition of an Android robot urinating on the Apple logo.

Google also had to apologize last year after it emerged that a racist search term would, if used in Google Maps, lead users to the White House.