Over the past couple of months, we've monitored several changes to the way crowdsourcing information is handled in Google Maps. Now all of these changes have been made official in a blog post on Google Lat Long's page, adding details about the different features' availability.
First, since May, editing and adding Places has been accessible worldwide. It's available on both the Android and iOS apps, as well as through Google Search. Whether you're viewing an existing listing that has outdated details or you've dropped a pin where there's nothing but you know a listing should exist, you can edit or add those to provide better information for others who might be looking for it.
Google Search, not Google Maps, is adding a new feature when you search for a place. You'll get the usual card with the photo, location, open hours, description, reviews, and more, but there will be a new section there called Plan your trip with the duration people typically spend at this location.
This information won't show up for every single place you might look at. It will most likely be limited to popular touristic and historical locations with lots of foot traffic where Google can aggregate data from different visits and figure out how long people usually stay there.
This, along with the Popular times graph that was added last year to Maps (and Google Places) should help you plan your visits to different destinations more effectively, especially when you're on holiday or traveling.
Google's Goggles is all but abandoned now. We've seen Google resurrect apps from the dead and update them after years of neglect, but it's hard to imagine the company putting a fresh coat of paint on Goggles at this point. If only because the app has been superseded by others from Google, with its functionality cut off into little pieces and moved to various places inside the ecosystem.
But that doesn't take away from the fascination and respect that Goggles deserves. It could recognize landmarks before Google Photos, read and translate text before Google Translate, use OCR on images before Now on Tap, and even solve sudoku puzzles, scan and add contacts from a business card, and find and suggest similar products — all options that have yet to be transplanted into any other Google app.
Google held a press conference today where several new search features were unveiled, including some pretty nice improvements to the Google Mobile site. Among these features is the addition of Google Places on the main Google page, with quick links to areas of common interest at the bottom. Tapping any of the icons uses geolocation to provide results specific to the area that you're in.
Also announced were improved search capabilities in the browser and the ability to add additional details to Instant results by tapping the plus sign next to the suggestion that you wish to alter.
Instant Preview will now be incorporated into mobile search as well - by tapping the magnifying glass next to any result, you can scroll through images of the suggested pages, much like hovering over a link on the desktop search.