Google makes its local reviews easier to use when traveling with automated translation

Google announced today it’s making its business reviews easier to access and read when you’re traveling by performing automatic translation. The company says it will now translate the user reviews that appear in Google Search results and Google Maps into the language you have set on your device, so you can read them in your own language. This allows you to get more information about the business in question, restaurant, bar, shop, attraction or other point of interest you may be planning to visit, by hearing what others had to say about it.

Before, users would have to copy and paste reviews into a translation app, like Google Translate, which was a hassle.

The feature takes advantage of Google’s increasingly more powerful language translation platform, which the company has been augmenting using A.I. technologies. Last month, for example, the company said that it was expanding A.I.-powered translation to support more languages, including Russian, Hindi and Vietnamese. This was in addition to the languages it previously supported – English and French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Turkish.

This technology improves the platform’s ability to understand language – the way people actually speak it, that is. Instead of translating sentences piece by piece, it looks at the sentence as a whole.

Google says the new automatic translations will be available in Google products, Search and Maps, and will offer most users both the translated review along with the original review in the native language.

The company confirmed the translation of local reviews in Maps and Search uses the same Neural Machine Translation system.

The feature may be relatively minor in the grand scheme of things, but could turn users away from other travel apps offering local reviews in favor of Google Search.

The addition also comes at a time when Facebook, too, has taken a step at turning its app into a travel companion of sorts – the social network recently launched a travel planning section called “City Guides,” which lets Facebook users see where their friends have visited, and read reviews.

Google’s advantage in this area is that it includes more than just social networking-culled data. It has been pushing users for several years to help it build out its local reviews feature, by encouraging users to correct, edit and add business information, leave reviews and ratings, and upload photos. That has resulted in what’s now a fairly robust product for accessing business info – but one that was not easy to use when traveling, until this change that’s rolling out now.