Google announces new SGE and Maps travel features for people who like to plan a little or not at all

Google has some new Maps and SGE features for travel if your summer plans are heating up.

On Wednesday, Google announced the ability to create an itinerary in SGE (Google’s experiment for AI-powered search) and new ways to find recommendations and customize lists in Maps.

Google SGE, which stands for Search Generative Experience, is a testing platform for Search-related generative AI features. Users can sign up to see what Google is working on for the future of search — specifically AI-generated responses for queries. It’s not live yet for users who haven’t opted in, but Google is already quietly testing AI-powered search results to non-testers. With SGE’s travel planning feature, you can ask it to plan you an itinerary with recommendations pulled from around the web including Business Profiles for restaurants and sites with images and user reviews.

SGE itineraries include links to sources of travel information, so at least it’s citing its work, but we can’t imagine travel blogs and publications would be too happy with SGE responses taking up so much search real estate. Plagiarism and its impact on SEO traffic has been a major concern for the tool that has yet to be unleashed to the public. But for users, its potential for finding information more easily across the web is undeniable.

New features for Google Maps also aim to help people plan trips. Now, when you search for a city, Maps will show you “curated lists of recommendations” from top travel sites like Lonely Planet and The New York Times‘ “36 Hours” series and and Google Maps users. This also works for restaurants lists which Google organizes by “Trending,” “Top,” and “Gems.”

smartphone showing Google Maps search results for New York City with recommended lists

Find recommended lists when you search for a city on Google Maps.
Credit: Google

For Maps users who are devoted to curating their own lists, there are also new ways of customizing their favorite places. Now, you can organize places on your list chronologically and rank them so your list can be updated as you go along. Users can also share their curated lists on social.

SGE travel itineraries is available in the U.S. by enrolling in Search Labs. List recommendations will start showing up for users in the U.S. and Canada this week, and list customization will roll out globally on iOS and Android later this month.


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