It seems that Google took our advice for mobile local discovery features. Well, sort of.
Rather than the standalone local discovery app we predicted last week, Google has just launched new restaurant discovery features as part of the existing explore function in the Maps mobile app. It will suggest spots based on signals like location, time of day and restaurant “vibe.”
According to the Google blog:
Once you pick the category that suits your craving, you can see in-depth details about each location. Swipe through photos, get details (family-friendly? quick bite?), and check out ratings and reviews from Google and other diners. And for select spots, you also discover why it may be particularly relevant to you: for example, Google Maps may recommend a place that’s popular with other diners who visited a place you’ve been to in the past.
The feature will be live in New York, San Francisco and London and Android only for now (we expect iOS to follow soon).
This is just the latest Google move to live in a more mobile, app-based and discovery-oriented world. It has some Google Now-ish characteristics which raises questions about how Google will eventually federate these features across its apps and user entry points.
Related: We’ll have an insight paper published in the next few weeks on the next era of mobile local search and discovery.