Starring important places in Google Maps is a convenient feature that has been around for a while, but now Google is expanding it to make Maps more social. In a blog post, Google announced that its rolling out a shareable lists feature in Maps that allows users to save locations to a number of lists and then share those lists with friends and family from directly within the app. Google has been testing the feature for the past few months, but until now it has only been available to power users and Google Local Guides.
The new feature adds another layer to the already-existing “save” option in Google Maps. Once you pinpoint a desired location, you can hit the “save” button to reveal a number of premade lists including “Want to Go,” “Starred,” and “Favorites.” Then you can choose the list you want the location to live in, or create a new list with a personalized title like “Vacation.” In Google Maps’ menu, you can find all your saved lists in the “Your Places” folder when you want to recall saved locations. Now each list will have a “share” button as well, which lets you grab its link to share with others or share it via different social networks. This should make it easier to share things like favorite restaurants and shopping locations with visiting out-of-town family and the like.
The blog post also mentions being able to follow others’ lists, but didn’t detail how users can do that. However, in a promotional video for the new feature, you can see a “make public” button under the list’s share options. That might be the way can make your lists discoverable by nearly anyone, and in turn, find and explore others’ lists. While the feature doesn’t appear to be as robust as apps like Foursquare or Swarm, Google will likely build it up over time to include publicly accessible lists of famous and sought-out places, along with curated lists made by companies, personalities, or even Google itself. The company is certainly trying to make Google Maps more of a social experience that people use to connect with others rather than just a turn-by-turn direction app (and where you keep track of places like your doctor’s office).
As Starred locations previously behaved, all of your saved locations in any list will appear on the map when you’re regularly using Google Maps. Google is rolling out the feature to all its users today, but you’ll only be able to make lists on its mobile apps for Android and iOS. All your lists and saved locations will be accessible on Google Maps on mobile and on desktop, however.