Disregarding mapping and navigation, Yelp is a close competitor to Google Maps. Both services offer restaurant listings, feature user reviews, and even allow in-app reservations. Google Maps is now testing food menus with pictures from users.

Some restaurant listings in Google Maps already feature a Menu tab. However, it’s often very straightforward with the dish name, description, and sometimes pricing. The service this evening was spotted testing “Popular dishes” within the Menu page by two users on Twitter.

What people are ordering, based on photos and reviews

At the moment, the Menu page features nested tabs for various sections like appetizers and entrees. These pictures of food are part of a new “Popular” tab that gets first billing in the carousel. Not all menu items are included; only ones frequently cited in reviews that include pictures, given the crowdsourced nature.

Dishes are displayed in Material Theme cards that include a picture and links to more reviews, as well as additional images. Both can be accessed by clicking on an item. As this is data from the public, users can “Suggest an edit,” while some popular pictures do not yet feature a dish name.

For Google Maps, this is a much-needed addition that brings it closer to competitors like Yelp and Foursquare. Popular dishes combine reviews and images in a key way. While users can add images to written reviews, submitted pictures cannot be labeled individually. As a result, you can often view pictures of food, but not know what that particular item is.

This “Popular” tab is not yet widely rolled out and is likely in testing on the Google Maps beta channel.

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Thanks Taylor and Dee

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com