Improve local discovery with Nearby Search (New) API

In this document, you will look into how to use Nearby Search (New) API to build a simple and cost effective

local discovery experience.

A local discovery experience shows users key places of interest near a location you specify when searching for a hotel or a real estate. It often consists of an interactive map, with an additional panel containing a place chooser and a gallery of photos. You will be presented with different Google Maps Platform products and capabilities to enhance the experience with interactivity.

sample local discovery

Use Cases

Now let's understand what elements of the local discovery integration drive user value:

  • Discovery - Give users an overview of what is around a single location by surfacing relevant places of various types.

  • Interactivity - Empower users to select a place and dynamically refresh the data

    relative to that place.

  • Visualization - Provide places reviews, photos

    and walking time and distance for the users to quickly understand if it fits their needs.

Reference Architecture


Local Discovery

There are many ways to create a local discovery experience. The following integration is a custom example of a user experience that leverages well known Google Maps Platform APIs as well as some exciting new features. If you wish to have a templated approach to local discovery you can use Web Components.

Sample Application

Sample Walkthrough

You will find in the table below the sample application broken into steps together with a description of the technical implementation with Google Maps Platform APIs.

1. Location Search with AutocompleteSearch location

  • Load Maps Javascript API.
  • Places Autocomplete query or pick location on the map.

sample autocomplete

2. Surface local points of interest using Nearby Search (New) API

  • Popularity ranking (more relevant results) or Distance ranking.
  • includedTypes, excludedTypes ; if you are a hotel you can exclude “lodging” type, and include only suited types, ie: “restaurant, cafe, park, tourit_attraction”.
  • Leverage includedPrimaryTypes, excludedPrimaryTypes for even more control over results.
  • `locationRestriction to avoid insufficient number of results or too far away places ; in case of ZERO results, broaden the circle / rectangle size prior to display results.

sample nearby places

Query sample when booking a hotel with Data fields requested:

  • Basic (displayName, types, openingHours, formattedAddress)
  • Contact (websiteUri, nationalPhoneNumber, internationalPhoneNumber)
  • Preferred (reviews, priceLevel, userRatingCount)
 { "includedTypes": ["restaurant","cafe","park"], "excludedTypes":
["lodging","convenience_store"], "includedPrimaryTypes":
["restaurant","tourist_attraction","airport"], "excludedPrimaryTypes":
["lodging"], "maxResultCount": 20, "locationRestriction": { "circle": {
"center": { "latitude": 37.7937, "longitude": -122.3965 }, "radius": 500.0 } } }

Query sample when searching a real estate with Data fields requested:

  • Basic (displayName, types, openingHours, formattedAddress)
 { "includedTypes": ["school","transport","bus","convenience_store"],
"excludedTypes": ["lodging"], "includedPrimaryTypes":
["restaurant","tourist_attraction","airport"], "excludedPrimaryTypes":
["lodging"], "maxResultCount": 20, "locationRestriction": { "circle": {
"center": { "latitude": 37.7937, "longitude": -122.3965 }, "radius": 500.0 } } }

3. Add interactivity with Dynamic Maps and Directions API

  • Up to date leg and steps by querying Directions API. * Use time in the next section.

sample directions

4. Display detailed information of the place upon interaction

  1. Description: displayName, types, rating, userRatingCount, priceLevel.

    Time: coming from the previous Directions API query.

  2. Reviews: reviews[i].author, reviews[i].rating,reviews[i].text.

  3. Images: during Unrestricted Preview of Nearby Search (New) API, you will have to query Places Details with to get photo_reference to then query one at a time in your experience

places details

Queries count and cost associated


A local discovery experience is a powerful way to deliver user value. This demonstration implementation has many features you are likely to include when creating such an experience on Google Maps Platform with special capabilities from the Nearby Search (New) API .

Next Steps

Suggested further reading:


Principal authors:

Thomas Anglaret | Google Maps Platform Solutions Engineer