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Google is starting to test generative AI in its Maps app for discovering things to do

Stock image of Google Maps

Google is expanding its generative AI technology to its popular Maps app for more advanced discovery of places and things to do. This week, the company announced that select members of its Local Guides group in the US will be testing this new generative AI feature.

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In a blog post, Google says that those testers will be able to type in text prompts such as "places with a vintage vibe in SF in the Maps app. The generative AI model in Maps will then show them stores in San Fransicso that match that "vintage vibe" theme. Users will also be able to see pictures and reviews of those places on the map.

Those early testers will also be able to keep chatting with the AI in Maps for follow-ups to the initial text prompts. Google offered an example of a person typing in "How about lunch?" after the vintage vibe conversation. Google Maps will be able to show locations in San Francisco of places to eat that might have a vintage theme like an old-fashioned diner.

Google also says that this new feature could be used if your plans for the day need to be changed on the fly. If it is suddenly raining where you are, you could type in "activities for a rainy day” to get lists and locations for indoor places and events like movie theaters or bowling alleys. There's no word yet on when this new generative AI feature in Maps will be expanded to all users.

Earlier this week, Google announced that its Gemini Pro large language model has been added to its Bard chatbot worldwide and in 40 different languages, along with a way to generate images in Bard via the Imagen 2 model. It also announced an all-new AI image generator named ImageFX, along with AI updates to its MusicFX and TextFX apps.

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