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article imageGoogle Maps update lets you share lists of places with friends

By James Walker     Feb 13, 2017 in Technology
Google is rolling out an update to Maps that lets you create and share lists of your favourite places. The feature adds a social element to the app and makes it easier to plan trips, coordinate meet-ups and arrange sight-seeing expeditions.
Google has been testing the feature with registered Local Guide users over the past few months. It's available publicly on iOS and Android from today, expanding on Maps' previously limited listing capabilities by adding several new saving options.
Lists show up under the "Your Places" screen in the Maps app. The Saved tab houses all your lists in one location. Tapping a list will display the places within it while pressing the options button will display the new social integrations. Once you've created some lists, they'll download automatically so you can keep browsing while offline.
By default, three different lists will be added for you: "Favorites," "Starred places" and "Want to Go." Assuming you don't delete them immediately, you can put frequent destinations into Favorites, places of note in Starred and bucket list items in "Want to go."
Adding items to a list takes just two taps from a location's page. Pressing the "Save" button below the place's name will display an overlay that lets you select a list. You can also create a new list directly from this screen.
Lists come with several sharing options that let you publish your places to the people around you. There's support for distribution over social networks, messaging apps, email and SMS. Private links can be generated and given to groups of people.
There's also the ability to share a list publicly. If you've curated a list of great attractions in your local area, making it public could help others find the best places to visit in your city.
Shared lists extend Maps with a new social element, broadening its appeal and adding to the wealth of information surfaced by the app. With public lists, Google is appealing to its users to create the curated content it's currently responsible for. By inviting users to detail locations in their area, it can expose places that may have previously ranked lower in Maps' search.
"With the millions of landmarks, businesses and other points of interest in Google Maps, there's no shortage of places to try," said Google. "Now that we've got the world mapped, it's your turn to map your world with Lists – from local hotspots to bucket list destinations worlds away."
The new feature also pitches Maps against Foursquare, the popular place-finding app that's known for its user-managed lists. More broadly, there are scores of general-purpose bucket-list apps available, many of which support adding locations. For casual users, Maps may now be all that's needed to keep track of future destinations, continuing its evolution beyond pure mapping.
Lists is available from today in the Google Maps app on iOS and Android. Shared links can also be viewed online. A complete web version will be available for desktop devices in the coming months.
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