Google is continually updating its search, still the biggest and most lucrative part of its business, and today is launching a feature that should be useful when searching for locations for your next vacation. Google will now show map information but also photos of the most popular attractions in that location right inside the search page before the first results.
“Using our Universal Search technology, we have provided maps in our search results for more than two years,” Lingyun Liu, Software Engineer at Google, wrote. “It's often just as valuable to get a sense of what the place is like, and there's no better way to do that than by looking at images of some of its most important sights. Now, when you search for locations using Google Search, you may see pictures from that place alongside a map.”
The photos come from Google's photo sharing site Panoramio, which is greatly focused on tourist attractions and sightseeing. It's not yet available for all locations but searching for a big city is guaranteed to bring up the feature. Searching for Rome, for example, shows a map of the city, as well as some of the most popular sites, such as the Colosseum. Clicking on the map will take you to a Google Maps page with the photo overlay allowing you to see photos from around the city. And there are thousands of them, as expected for such a popular destination.
The feature isn't so great for other tourist attractions besides cities; still, it's a great addition. One can't help but wonder if the recently launched Bing that has seen a slight rise in popularity and also has some advantages over Google Search had anything to do with the recent update. Sure, Google's search engine has been constantly updating since it launched but travel search is one of the areas where Bing really excels.