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Google Maps gets a smart new feature perfect for travelers

If you’re a frequent traveler who’s always looking for a new place to eat, you might really appreciate this subtle-but-powerful new feature baked into Google Maps.

New to Google Maps is integration with Google Lens, the powerful image recognition system first introduced in 2017. With the latest update to Maps, the software will enhance listings for restaurants with more information on the menu.

We already know how competent Google Lens is at identifying text and symbols in images, but this new feature will take things a step further with more information. When user-uploaded pictures include a shot of the menu, the software will kick in and give you more context to help you decide what to eat. 

As seen in this picture from 9to5Google, the interface will give you the option to ‘Explore dishes’. It can identify the most popular items, find images for dishes, or even translate foreign menus to give you a better idea of what a dish will look like.

The exciting thing about this is that it happens without any work from the restaurant’s end. As long as a reasonably clear photo of the menu exists in Google’s database, your phone should be able to generate these options and context information.

As you might expect from how heavily it relies on Google services, the feature is only available on Android for now, but like most Maps features, it’ll likely make its way across to the iOS pond before too long.

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