One of the things that keep Google Maps going is a community that not just helps keep names and places updated but also regularly contribute to the app. They submit their reviews and ratings of restaurants, stores, and places as well as recommend important things in their neighborhood, add information about places they frequent, post photos and videos of where they ate or went to, etc. Now it looks like Maps is bringing all these community contributions to the forefront with a new community feed in the Explore tab of the app.
The Explore tab on Google Maps is the default tab that you see when you open the app, with Commute, Saved, Contribute, and Updates next to it. Now you will be able to see a community feed within the Explore tab. Just tap on the bottom bar icon and it will slide up to show you promos and popular places in the neighborhood that you’re currently in (if you turn on location services of course). It will also show you updates and recommendations from your local sources.
Within the feed, you’ll be able to see reviews, photos, and posts that have been added by local experts as well as the people and places you follow. You’ll also be able to see featured lists like “6 coffee dessert places to try out” or “shopping & culture in hip Place A” with the items localized to your city or place. You’ll also get articles from publishers that will mostly be about tourist spots, restaurants to try out, etc.
Google has been turning Maps into more than just a navigation app. You’ll actually be able to find a lot of recommendations, guides, and helpful local information here. The community is pretty active and you’ll find a lot of helpful posts, people, etc. The businesses themselves are slowly becoming more active as they update their information like operating hours, promos and special sales, etc. The aim is to make this a somewhat rival to Facebook’s Business Pages.
The Google Maps update is now rolling out globally and already includes the community feed within the Explore tab. Hopefully, more Local Guides and community members continue to update the app with all the information that they know and can come up with.