Using AI and imagery, Google can now automatically update important information about businesses using information from Google Maps.
Google announced it will be using artificial intelligence (AI) and a machine learning (ML) model to automatically update business hours and real-world road information.
The goal of these initiatives is to provide users with more up-to-date information about neighborhood changes.
Harnessing The Power Of AI For More Accurate Information
Though research into AI began in the 1950s, it didn’t begin to make deep learning breakthroughs until relatively recently. This is largely because machine learning progressed quite significantly post-2010.
“From my experience, I saw that ML algorithms are no longer the bottlenecks. To be sure, they are far from perfect, and there’s a lot of work to be done, but that work is happening at breakneck speed,” Edo Liberty, the former head of Amazon’s AI lab and current CEO of Pinecone, a vector database for similarity search said in a February 22 interview with Search Engine Journal.
Corresponding with the rise of big data, these advances are allowing AI to progress with incredible speed.
Google Using AI To Update Business Hours
COVID-19 changed the way many businesses operate, including the hours retailers and restaurants are open. To address these changes and better search engine users, Google developed a machine learning model that automatically identifies if business hours are likely wrong.
Once incorrect hours are identified, Google instantly updates the company’s business profile with AI-generated predictions.
For example, a business may have a profile showing it’s closed on Mondays, but it hasn’t been updated in over a year.
If Google determines its busiest hours are typically Monday evenings, it will recognize the hours are likely out-of-date and update them automatically.
It also uses Street View images of the storefront to identify hours of operations signs, while enlisting the help of local guides and business owners to verify predictions.
Business owners are contacted using Google Duplex, an AI system that allows people to have natural conversations and accomplish real world tasks with computers over the phone.
Google predicts this technology will help it update the hours of more than 20 million businesses worldwide within the next six months.
ML Updates Real-World Road Conditions
Google also announced it is experimenting with other ways it can use images for AI and ML. Starting in the U.S., it is launching a third-party imagery pilot that will provide the most up-to-date speed limit information.
The goal of this technology is to improve driver safety and add details that can make driving more efficient. Google hopes to eventually add information about potholes, school zones and construction.
Emphasis On Privacy Remains High
This pilot is designed with privacy as a key component. Reference images will only come from public roads. Partners will also be required to blur identifying information, including faces and license plates.
Once Google receives an image, it again blurs the photo, which is then deleted after maps have been updated.