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Google Enhances Crowdsourcing of Its Maps Data

Maps are a highly competitive corner of the mobile device landscape. Today, Google added features that make it easier for users to add new places, suggest edits to locations, and verify other users’ submissions.

Google announced on the Google Maps blog that adding and editing locations has been expanded worldwide in Google Maps and Google Search. In my limited tests, I only saw links to edit locations in Google Maps, but it may be that the feature is still being rolled out to Search.

In addition, you can now add additional details about a location that you find using Google search. As Google describes it:

There’s more to a place than its business hours or address—you might want to know if a place has a romantic vibe, serves vegetarian food or offers outdoor seating. Now on Google Maps for Android and when searching on your mobile phone, you can contribute what you know about a place so that others can benefit from the info as well. Knowing these types of details helps us build a deeper understanding of a place so we can better help users find the places most relevant to them.

I added some information about one of my favorite Chicago restaurants and found the process to be easy and fast. On iOS this only works if you use search in Safari. Android users can also add location details in Google Maps.

Finally, Google has opened up verification of user-submitted data to other users. If new data has been added to a location you can indicate whether it is accurate or not. After a location receives sufficient support for a change, Google will make it permanent.

Mapping services are only as good as the data behind them. Google continues to push forward at a fast clip and adding legions of users to its efforts to provide valuable map data makes a lot of sense. Apple Maps has made great strides since its introduction, but I’d like to see something like this added to Apple Maps to help it catch up and stay competitive with Google Maps.