Google Maps
Google has announced the new features that are coming to its Maps app this year. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Google’s I/O developer conference has already begun in Mountain View, California. Among the things the technology giant first showcased at the event are the new features that are coming to the Google Maps app this year.

The first new feature that’s heading to Google Maps this summer is the “For You” section. It is designed to come up with personalized recommendations to users based on their interests. Google said the dedicated “For You” tab will present information about new restaurants opening nearby, trending spots and many more based on the places the users have rated and visited, MacRumors has learned.

The “For You” section is accompanied by a new “Match Score” feature that custom-tailor restaurant recommendations based on users’ personal preferences. The feature basically predicts the new restaurants that users will likely prefer based on data about the places they’ve visited before and frequented in the past.

Google also wants users to share their recommended dining experiences with their friends, so it is adding a feature that will allow users to long press any restaurant or location to add to a shortlist that they can share with their friends. The purpose of the shortlist is for users to get opinions from their friends about the restaurant they are planning to visit. It could also help in finding the perfect hangout for a group of friends.

Google Maps is also getting augmented reality support that will mix the traditional Street View interface of the mapping service with a live camera view. This results to the addition of an AR overlay with specific directions on the Street View of the map. This way it would be harder to misinterpret the directions the app is giving users because every turn they make will be guided by AR navigation signs and symbols.

Google calls the upcoming augmented reality feature VPS or visual positioning system. The company disclosed that the system is designed to estimate a user’s precise location and orientation using visual landmarks. Google has also admitted that it is thinking of inserting animated characters to the new feature like a fox to make it more entertaining, according to Apple Insider.

In addition to the new features, Google is also working to improve the overall user experience of Google Maps. However, Google did not say when all of these things will come to its mapping service. The company also did not divulge if all new features are coming to both Android and iOS, but it’s safe to assume that they are heading to the app for iPhones and iPads due to the advanced augmented reality technologies of Apple’s devices.