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Google Maps just got an amazing new hidden feature

Updated Mar 10th, 2020 7:32AM EDT
Google Maps Features
Image: Google

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  • A brand new Google Maps feature will help you make the most of your next restaurant visit.
  • Google Lens integration will highlight the most popular items in a physical restaurant menu, and even show crowdsourced photos of those meals where available.
  • The feature is already rolling out on Android devices, but it’s not available on iPhones.
  • Visit BGR’s homepage for more stories.

You might be using Google Maps for directions and navigation first and foremost, but the app packs a slew of features that can provide plenty of additional assistance when you’re out and about. Some of these features are more obvious than others, and some are hidden inside menus and may take some time to discover, plus Google keeps piling up more tricks on top of what’s already available in Maps. The most recent one is an awesome new feature, one that will be incredibly helpful when traveling to new places because it connects with a couple other useful Google apps. The feature has just started rolling out to Android, though it’s not yet available to iPhone users.

The latest new hidden feature in Google Maps harnesses the power of two existing Google apps, including Google Lens and Google Translate, and that’s why Android is the natural home for it. iPhones will certainly gain access to it sometime soon, but Google controls Android and can make these integrations happen much easier than on iPhone and iPad.

Found by 9to5Google, the new Google Lens integration in Maps will be tremendously useful when you go out to eat. At I/O 2019, Google revealed that Lens would be able to analyze the physical menu in a restaurant and flag popular dishes — a translation option is also available if you don’t understand the language.

Going forward, the feature will also be baked into Maps, an app you might already be using to discover restaurants that match your preferences.

Image source: 9to5Google

When viewing the menus in Android, you’ll get a new suggestion chip at the bottom that tells you to Explore dishes. Google Lens will highlight the popular dishes, and it’ll also show a carousel of photos on the bottom with images of those popular menu choices if they’re available. You can see examples in the screenshots above.

This is the kind of feature that can come in handy if you have no idea what to pick from a menu, or what the dishes might look like. And it can certainly be used together with a different Google Maps feature that you should have enabled, especially when visiting a new country. Maps can now show you personalized restaurant recommendations, which should reduce the time you spend looking for a great place to eat.

The new Google Lens integration is already rolling out to Android users around the world. Just make sure you’re running the latest version of Maps on your devices if you want to check it out.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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