Google Maps testing tab that shows restaurants’ most popular dishes

Illustration for article titled Google Maps testing tab that shows restaurants’ most popular dishes
Photo: RobertCorse (iStock)

All those photos taken by enthusiastic diners now have an actual purpose beyond Instagram posts. The latest update to Google Maps has a feature those foodies will appreciate: If you find a nearby restaurant, under the “Menu” tab, there may now be a tab called “Popular Dishes,” says Engadget.

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So far it appears that this Maps feature is still in testing. But if you’re lucky enough to have it, you’ll be greeted by a multitude of popular restaurant dishes, along with specific customer reviews. Engadget surmises that “The new feature seems to scan reviews of the restaurant to find commonly-mentioned dish names, then adds photos included with those reviews to the Popular tab.”

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So far it’s unclear how these reviews are tabulated (by hand or by machine?), although “a fully automated system would presumably make mistakes whereby someone’s review mentioned one dish and the photo showed another.” Also, not everyone who posts restaurant pictures always includes the name of the dish, which might make things awkward for servers faced with an image on a customer’s phone (“Can I just order this, whatever this is?”)

So it may take some time for the kinks to work out. But this add looks like a welcome merge of Maps and Yelp to make your dining-out decisions even easier, especially while traveling or in an unfamiliar area.

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.

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DISCUSSION

I generally ignore Yelp reviews because your average Yelper wouldn’t know what good food is if it ate them, so I’m looking forward to ignoring Google Maps recommendations as well.