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What is our stance on questions on how to use Google Maps for travel purpose? On-topic or off-topic as not related to travel?

I see that there exist such questions:

but on the question How can I see which location has the most reviews/ratings in a given area on Google Maps? received one close vote by an active close voter on the grounds it is off-topic, so it would be best to clarify the scope.

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    I’m not sure I understand the “travel purpose” of listing the places with the most reviews. – Chris H Jul 12 at 10:30
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    @ChrisH e.g. deciding which popular tourist attractions to go to. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 12 at 11:00
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    This is starting to sound like an x-y problem. If what you want is a list of the major attractions in an area, looking at google maps reviews doesn’t seem like a sensible place to start. – Chris H Jul 12 at 12:38
  • @ChrisH I mentioned attractions for the sake of example but could be other kinds of businesses e.g. groceries, hospitals, pharmacies. Knowing the most heavily frequented places can be an interesting information for travelers. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 12 at 12:44
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    Again, XY Problem. If you want to know how you can find the most frequented places, ask that question instead. Most reviews won’t tell you that, and I wouldn’t be confident if it even being a good approximation. – Chris H Jul 12 at 12:51
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    @ChrisH I think using the number of reviews to approximate the frequentation makes sense. Also it helps avoid close vote on the grounds the question is too hard / impossible to answer, or is asking for some recommendations of some sorts. And it's worthwhile to try to get knowledgeable about a tool such as Google maps. If Google maps can't do the job then yes I agree with you I could try to ask the question you propose, it's good to me too. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 12 at 18:19
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    Don't you think that raising a meta question on the basis of one close vote is a bit of an over-reaction? – user105640 Jul 12 at 23:52
  • @Arthur'sPass there are 4 close votes now, so looks like it was worth asking. Comments aren't a place to discuss the scope of a website anyway, since they often get deleted or moved to chat. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 12 at 23:53
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    I was part of the team that launched the current reviews feature on Google Maps, and I don't believe using review counts as a proxy for popularity is a good idea for travelers for a multitude of reasons. Agree with XY, would vote to close if I could. – ex-user3761894 Jul 13 at 13:00
  • @ex-user3761894 if the reasons are ok to disclose publicly, that would be a great answer to add. Looking at the tool using review count that is mentioned in the existing answer, I find the proxy works well for Bangkok at least (I haven't looked at other cities). It seems be a be a mixture of frequentation and popularity amongst tourists (more likely to use gmaps than locals). – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 13 at 15:41
  • @ex-user3761894 Since the comment section is getting long, I posted the question: Why isn't using review counts on Google Maps a good approximation for the popularity of a location?. Your insights are welcome. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 14 at 2:37
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There's a fine line to be drawn here between what is useful for travel, and what is tech support for an app. In this case, the OP has crossed from the former to the latter.

If the question was 'How can I get ratings from Google Maps?' then I'd agree that this is on topic. The OP has gone beyond that, however. He's shown that he can get the information from the app, and is now asking 'How can I get Google Maps to manipulate this data to produce it in this form?'

The opening comment in the only answer posted as I write this is referring the OP to the Google Maps API. Somewhere in this we've lost the travel connection, and this question is better answered elsewhere.

I've suggested that Web Applications should be the place to go with this sort of question, but if the OP is interested in following up the API suggestion then perhaps Stack Overflow is the right place.

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    ''How can I get Google Maps to manipulate this data to produce it in this form?" No I was hoping Google Maps had a built-in feature allowing to see which location has the most reviews/ratings in a given area on Google Maps, or that some third-party program had this feature (which turns out to be the case, as shown by the answer to the question). I didn't intend to use the GMaps API myself and seek coding advice. Therefore I believe my question is on-topic according to your answer, since it's similar to asking "How can I get ratings from Google Maps?'. – Franck Dernoncourt Jul 13 at 16:18

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