Google Maps now identifies the menu items in restaurant food photos

What you need to know

  • Version 11.112.0102 of the Google Maps app for Android can name the food items present in customer photos. 
  • The named menu items appear in the photos tab of a restaurant card in Google Maps. 
  • Google says that the features works by analyzing aggregated data from users and businesses.

Google Maps is a useful way to find out whether a place or restaurant is worth going to, since the app integrates with Google Reviews. This allows users to post reviews, photos, and videos related to a restaurant right inside the same Google Maps app that others will use to find nearby dining options. As such, these reviews could hold a lot of weight in swaying people either to or from potential restaurant. 

But a common problem with sifting through Google Maps photos for restaurants is not knowing the name of a good or bad dish pictured. Photos uploaded by the restaurant usually have labels, but a lot of the time, users will neglect to include a description for their images. Now, the Google Maps app for Android will automatically detect which menu items are pictured in customer photos for restaurants, as first discovered by 9to5Google. 

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After finding a restaurant in Google Maps and navigating to the Photos tab, start swiping through the images. If Google can match the food in a photo to an item on the restaurant’s menu, the name of it will appear below the image. Food items might also be identified with tags, such as Popular or Vegetarian. If the price is available, Google can show that in the description, too. 

The name of items pictured in food photos in Google Maps.

(Image credit: 9to5Google)

Google explains how the feature works in a few sentences. “Dish information is collected from Google users and businesses,” the explanation reads. “Google analyzes the aggregated data, but doesn’t verify every attribute.”

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