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Google starts steering diners to certain restaurants

After years of telling consumers how to get to a restaurant, Google has started advising them about which places to try. The tech giant has added a new restaurant-recommendation feature to its Google Maps program in selected markets.

Consumers in New York or San Francisco who turn for navigation help to Google Maps will also be given suggestions about where they can eat. The recommendations are influenced by such criteria as where the Maps user is going, what time of day it is and which places were frequently visited in the past, and can be screened by a slew of additional criteria, including “vibe.”

“Now you can discover what is unique (and delicious!) about the neighborhood you’re in,” Murali Viswanathan, a senior product manager at Google, said yesterday in a blog post.

The local options are presented to the user with a photo and a tagline—“Best lunches,” or “Mission-style Mexican food.”

The Google Explore feature is currently available only in New York City, San Francisco and London.

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