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Google Maps just got a lot more useful with this new visual feature

Google has announced in a blog post that the update to its Maps app for iOS and Android that was released yesterday added a big new feature: the ability to view “areas of interest” just by looking at the map.

As you explore the new map, you’ll notice areas shaded in orange representing “areas of interest”—places where there’s a lot of activities and things to do. To find an “area of interest” just open Google Maps and look around you. When you’ve found an orange-shaded area, zoom in to see more details about each venue and tap one for more info…We determine “areas of interest” with an algorithmic process that allows us to highlight the areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops. In high-density areas like NYC, we use a human touch to make sure we’re showing the most active areas.

The Google Maps team has recently made it easier for users to update business listings and add places—part of a general push toward building what Ed Parsons, Google’s geographer-in-chief, calls a “selfie for the planet.” MG