Services & Software

Google makes user-created maps searchable

If you query Google Maps with, say, "president birthplaces," the top result will be a user-created map showing the birth locales of all the U.S. presidents.

Google Maps users have created millions of their own maps using the service's My Maps feature. But whenever a visitor searched for content on Google Maps, none of those maps appeared in the results. Until now.

Google Maps
Finding Abe Lincoln's birthplace via a Google Maps query. Google

Google announced in a blog post Thursday that maps created by others will now start to surface when users search for specific content in Google Maps. For example, company representatives said that if a user queries Google Maps with "President Birth Places," the top result will be a user-created map showing all the Presidents' birth places.

If a map is attributed to a particular user, that person's username will be displayed in the results. If it's clicked, visitors can see the user's profile and view all the maps they have created.

Though all maps are made available in the Google Maps results pages, users who wish to keep their creations private can do so by switching the map's settings to "unlisted" in its privacy and sharing settings menu. Any unlisted apps will not be included in query results.