Google is introducing a new Maps feature called “Neighborhood Vibe,” the company announced today at its Search On event. The feature is designed to give users an instant understanding of a specific neighborhood right in the Maps app. Neighborhood Vibe surfaces photos and information from the Google Maps community to give you an idea of the most popular and trendy places in a given neighborhood.
Chris Phillips, the VP and GM of Geo at Google, told reporters during a briefing that the feature determines the vibe of a neighborhood by combining AI with local content from Maps users who add more than 20 million contributions to the map each day, including reviews, photos and videos.
“When you’re looking at the map of an area, we can highlight the handful of places that are popular in that area, so it gives you a way to quickly see what’s interesting about that area,” Phillips said. “It’s not just places to eat, it could also be a park or it could be things that the community that live in that neighborhood have helped tell the map what matters so it helps other people.”
You can use the feature to see if a neighborhood has an artsy vibe or has an exciting food scene so you can decide how you want to spend your time there. Google says that the feature aims to help users decide what’s worth exploring by surfacing local gems right on the map.
Say you’re going to visit a new place and you want to get a better understanding of the area before you visit. You can use Neighborhood vibe to see a list of key sites and businesses that will pop up on the map so you get a sense of what these interesting places are before you actually get there. Although you can already find key places like parks and museums by searching the Maps app, Neighborhood Vibe aims to give you all of this information visually at a glance.
When asked if the feature could be used by bad actors to surface harmful content, Phillips explained that there is a high bar for information that is displayed in the Neighborhood Vibe feature. He noted that the company will work to ensure that only high-quality content is being displayed, as Neighborhood Vibe is meant to be a positive way to reflect helpful information. In other words, bad actors likely won’t be able to game the system to surface problematic content. However, if Google does find a specific piece of content that shouldn’t have appeared in the feature, Phillips says the company will take it down.
Neighborhood Vibe will roll out globally in the coming months on Android and iOS.
Google also teased the upcoming launches of two new Maps features called Immersive View and Search with Live View. Immersive View leverages a combination of computer vision and AI technology to fuse together Street view and aerial imagery with what the weather, traffic and crowds will be like on a given day and time. On the other hand, Search with Live View lets you use your camera to find essential places like shops, ATMs and restaurants when you’re on the go.