Google Maps starts explaining what foreign businesses actually are

If you've ever tried getting around when traveling in a country with an unfamiliar language, you might have had trouble figuring out what all the businesses around you are, even if you could read the names. A new Google Maps feature developed in Japan and launching there today, however, should offer a little clarity.

While Google Maps has had simple icons for things like restaurants and stores before, Japanese businesses can now list themselves as one of over 1,000 categories in 19 languages: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Dutch, English, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Thai. The categories show up right on the map view without needing to open a listing's page.

The idea is that you'll know that, say, Afuri is a ramen restaurant, Junkudo is a bookstore, and Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a drugstore right away.

The business categories are rolling out across Japan today and should appear the next time you land in the country. No word on when the feature will make it elsewhere around the world, but it sounds like the sort of thing that ought to be standard eventually.


This is sweet because even though I live in Japan and speak/read Japanese, sometimes the names of stores or restaurants can be confusing eg: rootee (bag shop)/ bookstore (not a bookstore but a kinda of hip bag/clothes store)/ Pocoloco (pet store)

Still useless if the map data is outdated, which it is more often than not. Walk half a mile to go to an ATM only to find it was relocated a month ago…

And then you use the "suggest an edit" link to update the data only to get the update rejected… I don’t know why they bother with that feature.

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