Ever since I moved to the New York City Google office I've had an agenda: exploring the best the city has to offer like so many other New Yorkers do. Sometimes this can be an overwhelming experience, since the city has more than 18,000 food vendors according to nycvisit.com!

Fortunately, finding the best places just became a lot easier with the addition of user ratings and neighborhood refinements to Google Maps. Now when your search has a wide variety of interesting results, you'll get the opportunity to hone in on that midtown-east bakery with the delectable bagels or find some really great flowers in Chelsea. If you are visiting and can't make up your mind on where to stay, you can even get the best hotels in two different neighborhoods at the same time. All you have to do is look for the "Refine by" link, click on a neighborhood or user rating, and the new results will appear immediately.

New York doesn't have the monopoly on good neighborhoods, of course. Next time I visit the rest of the Maps team in Mountain View, CA or in the Seattle area, I'll use refinements to find a cool bar or some good downtown seafood. So, find the best of what your own neighborhood has to offer, and enjoy!