By Anya Lytvynenko Amorim
Google has a feature that can make our (vegan) lives SO much easier!
Before I dive into what it is, I want to give a little bit of a background on the subject. Every so often, Google Maps (let’s call it G-Maps for convenience) makes changes to their interface to make the platform more user-friendly. We can now have our own profile page on G-Maps, follow other people or businesses for updates, make lists of where we want to go and where we’ve been, and become experts at reviewing places we love/visit most often. Businesses can now identify as being “woman-led” and “LGBT-friendly” globally, and “Black-owned” or “veteran-led” in the US, so we can specifically search “woman-led businesses around me” and it will give us a list of places we can support. G-Maps is sort-of becoming its own social media platform but based on our surrounding locations.
What I believe is going to revolutionize the vegan game is being able to search through reviews of already existing places to filter for key words we need like “vegan” options, for example. This feature rolled out sometime in 2018 but not many people know about it, yet. The first thing we typically do when looking for a place to eat is Google what’s around us. The next thing we can do is search the reviews that exist to see if “vegan” accommodations were made for anyone prior to us who have visited this particular business. This can also be applied to other useful keywords like “wheelchair” accessibility for those who need it or even “study” spaces for students seeking a work-from-cafe experience. Just to give a hypothetical example, let’s say you are in a new city and you find a local Mom and Pop pizza shoppe, you go into their reviews, click the little magnifying glass and type in “vegan pizza” which finds several (or zero) reviews of when the last time someone had a good/mediocre vegan pizza there. This will help you make a decision whether you want to order from here or you’d rather hit up a different local spot with more options. Below is a screenshot from both my laptop and Android of how to search reviews for a specific keyword (I used a pizza example just to make life easy). This will help other vegans plan their vacations, trips, outings, and make life a little bit easier to navigate.
Example of how the search function looks from my Samsung S9 phone.
Example of how the search function looks from a computer browser (after you select a restaurant specifically).
This is also a good reason to leave a review for a business you’ve been to where you ordered vegan options so anyone who will visit in the future can have the same experience, if not better. Personally, I have been leaving reviews of my experiences for the last 5 and a half years because I know the businesses will appreciate it, especially if you have anything nice to say or if they have room to improve. Additionally, talking about veganism on a big platform like Google will only normalize veganism further. I will leave my profile link below if anyone is also a Google user or if you want to see where I’ve gone in the recent years for good vegan food!
Anya is a 26-year-old double major of biology and psychology at Suffolk University in the heart of Boston! Migrating to the United States at age 9, she learned English as a second language, Russian being her primary, and is now actively learning Portuguese to be able to speak to her in-laws at her wedding at the end of 2021. When not busy planning a wedding, Anya truly enjoys creating vegan recipes in her kitchen, traveling the world with her other half, being in front of a camera, cuddling her cute dog @yodamorim and dancing Zumba! You can follow Anya on Instagram @anya.amorim.