Google Maps has launched a map editing tool for desktop that lets users add new or missing roads to the landscape.
This feature, which is rolling out over the coming months in more than 80 countries will let users add missing roads by drawing lines, rename roads, realign or delete incorrect roads and report if a road is closed.
They’ll just need to click on the side menu button on the Maps home, click ‘Edit the map’, and select ‘Missing Road’.
Google added that it’ll be checking all contributions before they’re published to make sure pranksters aren’t adding roads that don’t exist.
Google Maps is also trying to help out local businesses by letting users leave quick photo updates instead wordy reviews.
The tech giant is giving users new ways to edit Maps due to make sure the service ‘reflects the real world’ during the current pandemic.
‘With all the change our world saw over the past year, people are relying more than ever on high-quality, updated information about the places around them – like if a nearby restaurant is open or if a local grocery store has updated hours,’ the firm says in a blog post.
‘We make it easy for anyone with a Google account to contribute their local knowledge about more than 200 million places in Google Maps.
‘These community-led updates help people everywhere make better decisions about what to do and where to go.’
Currently, Google asks you to click the map where the missing road should be and enter its name.
Once the feature rolls out, this should be updated, letting users draw in the missing roads.
To make sure the tool isn’t hijacked by pranksters and ensure suggestions and edits are accurate, Google is vetting contributed road updates before publishing them.
The firm says it will email the authors about the status of their edits.
Another update announced by the firm in the blog post, which will roll out ‘in the coming weeks’, lets users share photo updates on their mobile.
Essentially, it lets users share up-to-date information about businesses and helpful tips by simply uploading a photo.
A photo update would be a recent snapshot of a place with a short text description, without the need to leave a lengthy review or rating.
This will help other Google Maps users ‘find and share experiences’ with recent photos.
Google Maps users can upload as many photos as they want under about businesses under the Updates tab, as an alternative to writing a review
To leave a photo update, users will need to go to the ‘Updates’ tab when they’re looking at a place in Google Maps to see the latest photos that merchants and other people have shared.
To add their own update, they can tap ‘upload a photo update’, select photos, leave a short description and then post.
‘You can post as many photos as you want and find photo updates that others have left in the Updates tab,’ Google says.
Google is also encouraging Maps users to update 100,000 businesses with new photos, reviews and updates in the next month.
To do this, users can click the Contribute tab in Google Maps and add ratings, reviews and information about local businesses that have been visited, like a cafe or bakery.
Google calls this the ‘local love challenge’ as it aims to help businesses impacted by the pandemic.
‘We see people showing love and support for local businesses in Google Search and Maps by leaving photos, writing reviews or updating factual information like a store’s new hours,’ Google says.
‘We want to amplify that same local love with a feature we are now piloting.’
This feature works with Local Guides, its community of users who share tips and photos about places on the Maps app, which anyone can join.
Local Guides launched six years ago and now has 150 million contributors around the world, Google also revealed in the post.
Since its launch, Local Guides have contributed more than 70 per cent of the reviews, photos and other types of user-generated content on Maps.
Google celebrated 15 years of Google Maps last year with the launch of a new and updated design, giving terrain a ‘more vibrant’, detailed and colourful appearance.