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Agence France-Presse
May 16, 2013
Google's mapping service, Google Maps, is getting a major overhaul with an increasingly personalized service featuring recommendations of places to visit based on your preferences, the company announced Wednesday at the first day of its developer conference Google I/O.
The new updates to Google's mapping service, which will be available to the public from Thursday, May 16, include personalized recommendations for places to visit based upon information taken from that user's use of Google services, such as search history and Maps history as well as from Google+ posts, among other services. This information will then be used to highlight on the new Google Maps, in real time, places that might be of interest to the user, such as museums or Italian restaurants for example.

When users of Google Maps then visit another city this information will also then be used to highlight places in that city that might be of interest based upon the preferences of other Google Map users with similar tastes.

The new Maps service will also work in real time so that, for example, if a user clicks on a museum all the other museums in that city will be highlighted. Meanwhile a clear route to reach the selected museum from the user's current destination will display prominently with the other street names fading away.  

With regards to local businesses, such as an Italian restaurant for example, users will be able to see detailed information, including reviews from friends and, where available, information from Zagat, on that restaurant by simply clicking on its icon.

Other updates include changes to the search function, which is no longer separate from the map, appearing instead as a small widget in the upper lefthand side of the screen, and improved directions which, for public transport, allow users to compare routes based on total travel time, number of transfers and walking distance.

Another interesting update to the service is the introduction of satellite 3D imagery, which was previously only available via Google Earth, allowing users to see their city in 3D within Google Maps.

Those who wish to try the new Google Maps, which is currently in Beta, can sign up for an invitation to try the new service via: http://www.google.com/help/maps/helloworld/desktop/preview/. The redesign is expected to roll out across iOS and Android apps in the future.