Google has quietly rolled out a new feature on the Maps app for iPhones and iPads that predicts whether or not you’ll like a restaurant, based on your eating habits. Frequent pizzerias? Then maybe you have a fondness for Italian cuisine.
Search for restaurants on Google Maps and you may see a small, circular, multi-coloured logo next to some of the listings. This gives you your “match” score in percentage form. It’s like a dating app for finding the love of your stomach’s life.
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Tap the match score and Google Maps will explain why it thinks you might like this restaurant. It may be because it’s similar to another restaurant you’ve been to, or a particular type of cuisine you appear to enjoy.
It does all of this automatically, which begs the question: do you actually want Google using your data in this way? You can disable the feature, but only by turning off Google Location history. Here’s how to do it.
The app explains how it works:
About your match
How much you may like a place, based on your interests, ratings and Location History. You can turn it off at any time.
Dig into the link provided and there’s a bit more information:
How matches are created
Your matches show how well different places fit with your preferences. They’re unique to you and improve over time. Matches are based on:
- Any dietary restrictions or cuisines that you list in your preferences
- The types of cuisine and restaurants you typically visit or avoid
- Whether you’ve saved, rated, or visited a place or other places similar to those
It also explains how rating restaurants will improve results over time:
How ratings affect your matches
When you rate and review places in Google Maps, you give us a better idea of the places you like. The more you rate places, the more accurate your matches will be.
It’s not just the information on your location and Google ratings history that affects the matching criteria. You can select whether you like or dislike hundreds of cuisines, and even say whether or not a restaurant has a nice view or live entertainment.
To do this you need to open the Google Maps app on your iPhone or iPad, tap Menu then Settings, and under “Exploring place” hit the “Food and Drink” preferences option.
Based on my own short tests, matching is rather hit and miss.
For example, I have a 98% match with Tonkotsu in Hackney, but only a 69% match with the same restaurant in a central London location. I have a 67% match with one of my favourite pizzerias, but a 95% match with a sushi restaurant even though I’m allergic to fish and set sushi as one of my disliked cuisines.
Apparently I should start visiting McDonald’s a lot more, since I have a 91% match with it. I haven’t had a Big Mac in more than a decade. However, one of my regular pubs that does great food only appears as a drinking establishment, so there’s no match at all.
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Clearly it’s still very early days and it can only get better. It may well be that Google is also trying this as a nudge incentive to get people rating more restaurants in Maps rather than TripAdvisor or FourSquare. The more you rate, the better your results will get, according to the firm.
Do you like the idea of Google matching you with restaurants based on your location history? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.