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Google Maps Takes On Yelp and Foursquare, New Update Introduces The Explore Button

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Updated Google Maps app has a new Explore button which focuses more on local discovery

Updated Google Maps app has a new Explore button which focuses more on local discovery.

Google has just announced an updated version of their Google Maps apps for Android and iOS. They added a new feature called Explore which can provide information and suggestions about interesting spots within a user?s vicinity.

Perhaps the tech megacompany isn?t comfortable with Foursquare?s impending big redesign so it seems that they are trying to grab the spotlight with this Google Maps revision. The Explore button is made more context-sensitive so it may provide suggestions based on the local time and weather status. Ideally, this allows users to plan and time outdoor activities and other engagements even when there are weather alerts. The revamped app also lets users customize suggestions by putting in particular time frames and their own definition of ?nearby,? location-wise.

Upon using the Explore feature, users will have the option to set how much recommendations they want to see based on how far or how long they want to travel. They can change it to a 5, 10, or 15-minute walk, or a 10, 20, or 20-minute drive. They may also set the range of time when they want to see the information. If users choose to see suggestions on other areas apart from their current location, the Explore button can also do so and will be able to show them how long it will take to get there.

The default criteria is set within the 5-minute walk range, relevant to the current weather and time of day. Users can see events, public transit info, restaurants, interesting locations, and more — all location-based information are brought to the app by Zagat.

To learn more about a location, the My Location button set at the bottom right of the screen (or the blue GPS dot) can be tapped to display more details about the place. As usual, Google can learn more from users as they use the app, so in time it will be able to improve the recommendations it will give.

If you feel like you?re having a d?j? vu when reading about this new Google Maps feature, that?s because it?s almost exactly the same as what Yelp and Foursquare have been doing. As mentioned, Foursquare is slated to have a major update soon. Presently, it already offloads its ?check-in? feature to another app called Swarm. Google Maps has the slight upper hand as it can also serve up step-by-step directions, so if this feature works out well it could present significant competition to Foursquare and Yelp.

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Photo Credit: ?Google Maps Blog

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