Google's Maps product was well on its way to becoming indispensable to the restaurant industry, but new announcements signal Google's continued interest in the space across a wide variety of products.
— Kristen Hawley
Google Maps has already asserted itself as a do-it-all app in the restaurant industry. It’s a true online-to-offline experience, facilitating everything from searching and discovering new restaurants to booking reservations and soliciting reviews.
Now some of Google’s other products are taking advantage of the vast store of information Maps has collected, establishing themselves as critical components to the restaurant experience, too.
Google announced a host of new products and features announced at Google’s I/O 2019 developer event in Mountain View, California on Tuesday, including some updates aimed squarely at dining.
Google Lens, an image recognition app baked into Android cameras first made headlines with its ability to immediately translate different languages. Now it can now read physical restaurant menus, highlighting so-called popular dishes. When a user taps on a menu listing, Google pulls photos of the dish and reviews from Maps.
In a blog post announcing the new features, Google says it’s working to “connect helpful digital information to things in the physical world.” (Google is also deploying a similar feature in museums, adding additional info to artwork when a user scans a piece with Lens.)
What’s less clear about the new features is the amount of personalization in the current functionality, something Google almost certainly will continue to hone as it further develops Lens capabilities. Google Maps already offers personalized restaurant recommendations, even serving up a score of how likely you are to like any given restaurant in the Explore tab.