How does Google Maps know when a particular store is open? It turns out that AI plays a pretty important role in ensuring Google can provide accurate information to its users.
In response to the ever-fluctuating business hours caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company says it has developed a machine learning model that “automatically detects when business hours are likely to be incorrect and then immediately matches them with AI-generated data.” predictions updated”.
This model relies on Popular Times data collected by Google to determine when a particular business is at its busiest. If the model notices a lot of people visiting a place where it should be closed, well, that’s probably a sign that Google Maps has erroneous information.
Google then relies on algorithms that gather information from nearby businesses, the business’s website, and Street View images to estimate actual hours of operation. Some countries also use an AI program called Duplex to call the business owner directly.
“With this new AI-first approach,” says Google, “we’re on track to update opening hours for over 20 million businesses around the world over the next six months, so you’ll know exactly when your favorite store, Restaurant or cafe is open for business.”
All of this effort to determine business hours shows how well Google’s technologies work together. Google Maps has access to location data, historical information and Street View images; Google itself owns much of the internet, as well as numerous AI projects.
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But the company isn’t entirely self-sufficient. Google says it’s also running a pilot program in the US through which it will use data from “third-party imagery partners who already collect street imagery to improve delivery routes” to collect accurate speed limit data for Google Maps.
“Over time,” the company says, “this technology will bring more detail to the map that can help make your journeys safer and more efficient — like where you’re driving, where you’re driving, and where you’re driving.” like where there are potholes and school zones, or where new construction is happening.” (Although it limits this pilot to images taken on public roads.)
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