Here’s the thing about Google Maps: It’s really, really good. It’s also extremely useful when you’re traveling, but sometimes people in other countries use other languages and reading reviews of, say, a local bar in Paris can be a bit tough if you don’t speak the local language.
And as Steve Martin once said, “It’s like those French have a different word for everything!”
So for years people did what I did: copy and paste those reviews and map results into another Google product, like Google Translate, and then, in the know, make some pseudo-informed tourist decision.
Even better, the feature is already live. As Google mentions on its own blog, to get reviews translated into your preferred language, you don’t need to do a thing.
“Just open Google Maps or Search, search for what you’re interested in and the reviews are automatically translated,“ Associate Product Manager Dan Kang says. "Most people will see the translated review in the language they prefer and then see the review in the native language below—eliminating the hassle of copying and pasting into a translation app or trying to decipher reviews using your pocket-sized translation book.”
It’s a welcome addition to a tool that’s all-but replaced paper maps and guide books for travelers, for sure.
This new feature, however, does open up one possible issue: What if the locals don’t want tourists flooding their little corner shop? I know, at least as a local in a neighborhood in New York that sees more curious visitors on a seemingly daily basis, I’ve been somewhat comforted that tourists have had a hard time finding my favorite spots.
Now, that barrier to entry has been removed.