Google Maps Launches AI-Powered Local Business Search

Google has rolled out an experimental feature in Google Maps that uses AI to help users find local businesses that meet their specific needs. This new feature utilizes large language models to analyze Google Maps’ database of over 250 million places, photos, ratings, reviews, and more. It allows users to make conversational search queries and receive personalized recommendations for businesses, events, restaurants, and activities in the area. For example, users can ask for recommendations based on specific criteria, such as “places with a vintage vibe in San Francisco,” and receive suggestions like clothing boutiques, record stores, and flea markets.

The feature also allows users to refine their search by asking follow-up questions like “How about lunch?” to receive recommendations for eateries with a vintage ambiance. Users can save suggested places into lists for future reference, making it helpful for managing spontaneous or changing itineraries.

Google is currently seeking feedback from a select group of Local Guides to shape the AI technology before a wider rollout. This new feature represents Google’s latest effort to integrate generative AI into Maps and transform how users find and explore local businesses. The implications for local search and customer discovery could be significant, potentially driving more qualified traffic to niche businesses or lesser-known attractions and events.

As Google continues to develop its AI capabilities, businesses may need to optimize online information in new ways to rank for conversational searches and take advantage of the technology. Overall, this new feature has the potential to revolutionize the way users discover and explore local businesses on Google Maps.

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