The ever-evolving landscape of artificial intelligence has taken an unexpected turn as Google introduces a new feature that allows users to search for places based on “vibes.” In a recent blog post, the tech giant announced the integration of generative AI into Google Maps, enabling more conversational and intuitive searches for users.

Unlike engaging in a dialogue with a Google Maps chatbot channeling the Travel Channel, the new feature allows users to search for places of interest in a more natural and conversational manner. For instance, instead of typing “vintage shops,” users can now prompt the search engine with queries like “places with a vintage vibe in SF.” The conversation can continue with follow-up questions, such as “How about lunch?” to discover restaurants that match the desired vintage ambiance.

For travelers or locals looking to plan activities with specific atmospheres, Google Maps’ AI models leverage rich information about nearby businesses, incorporating photos, ratings, and reviews from the Maps community to provide reliable suggestions. Another example offered by the company is the ability to factor in weather conditions when searching. Users can easily find indoor activities near them in case of rain, making spontaneous changes to plans more convenient.

The feature is powered by Google’s large-language models (LLMs), which have meticulously analyzed 250 million places and reviews from 300 million contributors on Google Maps. The company states that the enhanced search functionality will be gradually rolled out to select users in the United States throughout the week, ushering in a new era of searching by “vibes.”

Coinciding with this announcement, Google Bard has caught up to competitors like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing. The updated Google Bard now enables users to create AI-generated images through text prompts, marking another stride in the integration of AI technologies into everyday applications.

By Impact Lab