Google Maps’ Foursquare-like lists feature is getting closer to launch

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A feature that will allow Google Maps users to make lists of places is getting closer to public launch. A number of Google Maps users this month have uncovered a new addition to their Google Maps mobile application — a way to make lists of starred and favorite places, as well as create buckets lists of those places they want to visit, and a means to build out their own custom lists.

The feature, which is reminiscent of Foursquare’s own list-making tools, has been in testing for months with the Google Local Guides program — a program that rewards users for their contributions to the Maps community with early access to new features. It was first reported this summer as being available to those Local Guides who had achieved a Level 4 or higher and were using Android devices.

This week, however, Google emailed its Local Guides to let them know the feature was available on both iOS and Android to those who had attained a Level 2 or higher. (These levels are awarded based on members’ participation and contributions to Maps, by adding things like business reviews and photos, among other things.)

A number of Google Maps users have spotted the lists tool showing up in their own Maps mobile application, ahead of its public launch. Some of these users are Level 2 Local Guides, however, which explains why they’re seeing the lists option appear:

There is perhaps some crossover between the lists feature and Google’s newer travel planning app, Google Trips, which helps you create lists of “Saved Places” — meaning those you want to visit at your destination.

However, the Maps list-making tool is broader in scope, allowing you to keep track of any place you want to remember, whether that’s your favorite local restaurants or places you want to go at some point in the future. That puts it in more direct competition with Foursquare’s app, as well as those from smaller startups, like Soon. 

If you have access to this feature, you’ll find it under the Menu option, in the “Saved” tab of the “Your Places” section.

We’ve asked Google for a comment on the status of the public launch, but the company declined to provide details beyond saying that it’s “always experimenting with new features in Google Maps” and the decision to launch to all will be determined by user feedback.

Updated 1/11/17, 1:30 PM ET with Google response.