Google has announced three new ways you can help make Maps more informative and accurate, which would make it more useful at a time when people are checking out places online before they venture out of their homes. To start with, the tech giant is holding a nationwide challenge in hopes of encouraging you to leave more reviews for local businesses.
Over the next month, you'll be able to join the "Local Love challenge" if you have an Android device in the US. You'll see the option to contribute towards a goal of updating 100,000 businesses when you navigate to the Contribute tab in the Google Maps app. Aside from being able to leave ratings and reviews, you'll also be able to confirm/update an establishment's information, such as its store hours.
Google is also launching a new feature that allows you to upload photos of an establishment in Maps in the coming weeks. It'll enable you to leave photos of a place with a short text description — say, to show other people that a restaurant has outside sitting or that a place has altered its facade — without having to leave reviews or star ratings. You can see photos in the Updates tab when you look up a place in Maps. To contribute, tap the "upload a photo update" button in the same tab.
Finally, Google has rolled out the ability to report map changes with a desktop editing tool. You'll be able to add missing roads in Maps by choosing "Edit" on the side menu and drawing lines. The tool will also let you change a road's direction, realign and delete incorrect roads, as well as rename them if the info in Maps is no longer accurate. Allowing anyone edit Maps can be risky, though, so Google will vet contributed road updates before publishing them to prevent people from adding false information. The tech giant will make this feature available in 80 countries over the coming months.