updated 10:15 am EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
Google Maps Explore offers nearby activities based on distance, time of day
Google is adding a new option to the Google Maps app for Android and iOS, providing suggestions for nearby locations to visit when traveling. The new "Explore" button, appearing on the apps this week, will offer up a variety of restaurants and coffee shops in the immediate and surrounding area, as well as other potential activities for the user to try out.
Aside from the person's location, the app will also use the time of day and the distance away from the user to dictate what to suggest. Users can also manually set the time of day and the distance to plan potential activities for later in the day. When at a location, the user can bring up more information about the venue, including transit times and restaurant reviews, as well as being able to save the location for later use.
The Google Maps apps already provides reviews and more information about locations, but users have to find them on the map and select them directly. The Explore function acts as a physical discovery service, similar to Foursquare and Yelp, and could be useful to people in unfamiliar surroundings who do not know the locations of venues to begin with.