Google Maps Gets Personalized Suggestions
I've commented here how Google likes to weave features from its dozens of applications into one another. The idea is to provide a seamless experience.
To that end, it's useful for anyone trying to grok Google that they realize that a feature in one application could easily port to another.
Google continued to leverage this effort Jan. 27 by bringing personalized search suggestions, a lovely feature fomented on Google.com's core search, to Google Maps.
Personalized search results take into account Google users' search queries and clicks over time and attempt to surface results the algorithm feels will be more relevant and useful to users. Google opened this to all users in January, not just to those who have enabled Web History for their Google Accounts.
You probably often search for the same places and categories many times. Sometimes it's the name of your city or your local airport; other times it might your go-to neighborhood restaurant or your favorite cuisine. Now, if you're signed in with your Google account and have Web History enabled, personalized suggestions can make searching easier and faster by showing you suggestions based on past searches. Just start typing into the search box as you normally would, and relevant suggestions may appear below, letting you quickly complete your search.
Here's what I saw in a search for restaurants on Google Maps:
See that edit link at the bottom? If you see a suggestion that irks you, you can jettison it by literally editing it from the results. Just click the Edit link under the suggestions box, which takes you directly to the Web History removals page. Looks like this:
What's great about this is it's totally iterative; the more searches you do for Starbucks, restaurants, and other shops and locales on your desktop or mobile versions of Google Maps, the more suggestions you'll receive in future searches.
Of course if you're the squeamish type and have disabled your Web History on your Google account, then you can't enjoy personalized suggestions and this feature (and blog post) is lost on you. It's very much a drink-the-Google-Kool-Aid thing.
Meanwhile, some want to know why Google can't provide localized suggestions in their search results.
This is a fair point and one I suspect Google will address in the future.