Google Maps has just launched a new and nifty feature: suggestions of similar places to your search query in maps. So if you search for Best Buy in your designated area, Maps will suggest (in the more information tab) nearby businesses and places that might be of interest to you, such as other Best Buy stores in the area.
Apparently, suggestions to places aren’t based on a specific characteristic. Google uses a “broad set of signals” to deliver recommendations. Google says they are working on the technology and from my experience, it’s definitely rough. For a search for Best Buy in Chicago, I received recommendations for any businesses that had the terms “Best Buy” in it.
Once the feature’s technology is streamlined, it should be a pretty useful addition to any search. It would be especially useful when searching for hotels, restaurants or bars in a given area. Google Maps will also be rolling out another compelling feature soon: Store Views. Similar to street views, Google Store Views will allow people to visually walk into the store from Maps.