If you’re the type who takes pictures of your food and uploads them while still at the restaurant, you may soon be getting prompted by Google Maps to identify and rate your meal, according to a story from Ausdroid.
The publication’s description is vague: “When you add a new photo, Maps will ask you to name the dish and present you with a fairly comprehensive list of meals as autocomplete options.” Adding the new photo to what, it isn’t entirely clear.
However, their post does have screenshots showing a picture of a food item which, from the looks of it, has been identified by Google as taken near a restaurant. Google then goes on to ask what the menu item is, as well as your thumbs up or down on that particular dish.
We’ve sent a note to Google asking them to confirm Ausdroid’s report, and will update this story as we hear more.
As Ausdroid writes, on its face, this is another vector for Google to gather information on you to provide better recommendations. In addition to wait times at a particular restaurant, it could also tell you which specific dishes are popular.
This is in line with news out of the recent Google I/O conference, where it was announced that Google Maps will soon be providing users with a host of new features, including a personalized match score for restaurants. A Google rep told Travel + Leisure that the score indicates “how likely you are to enjoy a food or drink spot based on your unique preferences.”
But, as is often the case with Google, there is a larger data play here for the company. Having potentially millions of food images properly labeled is immensely useful for Google’s AI and machine learning algorithms. Additionally, having pictures taken under all sorts of conditions (different angles, poorly lit, etc.) and then labeled also helps Google better understand the real world better.
Restaurants seem to be of particular interest for Google. At that same I/O conference, the company trotted out a demo of its human-sounding virtual assistant, Duplex, which supposedly is able to make restaurant reservations on your behalf (though doubts about its full capabilities have arisen). Everyone eats, so there are ample opportunities for data collection, and restaurants can be at the center for a number of Google products: Maps, Calendars, Email, Chat, site hosting/web page creation.
Have you seen this ratings feature in the wild? If so, send us a screenshot!