Plugged

You can now use Google Maps as a social network, here’s how

What will Google think of next?

words by: Sahar Khraibani
May 4, 2021

With everything veering towards social media, even the most functionality-oriented apps have adapted their systems to make space for social interaction, the most recent being Google Maps. The mapping app is much more than just a way to navigate from point A to point B. You can also get personalized news, ratings, and local viewpoints.

 

Google Maps has been around for almost 16 years now, and in that timeframe, it has accumulated a wealth of features—not only for mapping and getting around, but also for staying linked with friends, family, and other Google Maps users. Many of the social networking tools are now available in the app, from configuring your Google Maps profile to assisting other travelers. Google Maps is more interactive than you would think. It’s not exactly Facebook or Snapchat, but it’s become a lot more social than you have probably expected it to be. Here’s how to engage with Google Maps as a social network:

 

Start by editing your Google Maps profile

You have a Google Maps profile, if you didn’t already know that bit of information. It’s what people see when they search for your name in a ranking, review, or picture you’ve added to a map location.

 

Open the Google Maps app on your iPhone or Android, then tap Contribute, View your profile, and Edit profile to edit your profile. You can also add a short bio, with Google Maps’ suggestion to “tell others about yourself and the places you love.” The changes you make here are linked to your actual Google account, so they will be reflected elsewhere on any Google service you use.

 

Get updates from local guides

Following and being followed in Google Maps is now possible thanks to these profiles. The idea is that you should listen to local experts, as well as friends and family, for advice on which places to visit. Tap on someone’s name on a review or ranking in the Google Maps app for Android or iOS, then select Follow.

 

There is a news feed

In the Google Maps mobile app, tap Updates then For you to see a news feed of sorts. It gives you updates from the individuals and restaurants/businesses you follow, as well as updates from nearby locations that Google’s algorithms think you may be interested in (for example, improvements to the menu at a local restaurant).

 

You can add ratings and reviews

This is not a new feature since Google Maps has given users the opportunity to leave ratings and feedback for the locations they visit for a long time. When you open the Contribute tab in the app, you’ll see places you’ve visited recently but haven’t left a rating or review for—just tap on the place name to share your thoughts with others.

 

This is just the latest from the search engine giant. At the end of last year, Google announced the rollout of its Price Insights shopping tool as well as the ability to Google a song just by humming it.