According to Google, its Maps app (Android, iOS) gets one billion active users every month, which makes it about ten times as popular as Waze (Android, iOS), its closest competitor -- and subsidiary. With an audience that large, Google has a lot of user data on its hands, and it can use this info to help you find interesting places to visit in your area.
In the Android version of Google Maps, you can use the app's For You tab to locate popular restaurants (or new and trending ones), museums, concerts, festivals, shopping centers, and other watering holes and events. And for travelers, you can quickly locate hotels, gas stations, and ATMs.
Unfortunately, this tab has been completely absent in the iOS version of Google Maps, but with the app finally coming to Apple CarPlay with iOS 12, both companies are taking the opportunity to give iPhone users this handy section of the app. Here, users will now get a feed of recommended places to go, based on the places they've been to before (by way of Google Maps directions), and how they've rated those experiences within the Maps app.
This update starts rolling out today, so your App Store app might not have the new version right away.
How to handle Google Maps' discovery notifications
On Android, users may get periodic notifications inviting them to add ratings and reviews within Google Maps for the places they've visited, in addition to notifications for recommended events and places to visit. And sometimes, Google just has a few survey questions like, "Does this location have a public restroom?" or "Is there free parking?" This survey data may then go into the app's description of the event or location.
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If you want to change or disable recommendation notifications, tap the hamburger menu in the upper left, then Settings near the bottom, then Notifications, then Discovery. Here you will have seven categories of personalized recommendations that you can toggle on or off.
If you want to disable the survey question notifications, then go back one screen to Notifications, tap Your Contributions, and tap the slider next to Questions about Places. There are 14 items on this menu that let you tailor this feature to your tastes, or turn off every bit of it.
When Google Maps recommends a place you might be interested in, tapping the Want to Go button will add it to a collection of locations and events that you can check by tapping the green flag icon in the upper right. Here, you can edit your list, manually add more, and share it with friends. If this list grows unwieldy, you can long-tap an entry and drag it to the right-hand corner to create a Shortlist within this list.
The For You section of Google Maps is arguably its own app-within-an-app, but navigating it is fairly intuitive. By the time you're done checking it out, we wouldn't be surprised if you find some interesting local joints that you hadn't even heard of until now.
- Google Maps for iOS now has the "For You" section that provides personalized recommendations for local restaurants, events, travel accommodations, and other nearby things to experience.
- If you don't want notifications about For You recommendations or survey questions, you can disable them in the app with a few taps.
- Google Maps now lets you add hashtags to spice up your reviews
- Google Maps now lets you send and see messages to businesses
- How to turn off Google Maps' invasive location history log
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