4 things I hate about new Google Maps

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Last month Google finally rolled out new Google Maps to all users. After unveiling it as a ‘preview’ during its annual I/O conference last year, it became a default for everyone. I don’t want to give you a wrong impression – there are a lot of great stuff about new Google Maps. For example I really enjoy using the full screen design, and it’s great how the web and mobile design are similar, moreover I simply love the new iOS app and I’ve been using it as my major navigation app in Europe for some time already. Unfortunately there are as well a lot of terrible stuff about the web version of new Google Maps… here is what I have in mind:

1. THE SLOWEST THING ON THE PLANET

What I always loved about Google Maps was that it was so fast. I got used to checking the directions on my computer 2 seconds before leaving home or office… Now I have to wait 2 hours… The new version of Google Maps is so slow that I actually feel older when it finally loads. Google says it’s due to the new vector-based architecture which employs WebGL, a JavaScript API that renders 3D graphics inside a web browser. OK, I get that it’s the architecture of the future but it doesn’t work properly on my Haswell-equipped laptop (which not that slow) today!?

Google Maps - Slow

2. WHY CAN’T I FIND ANYTHING?

Another feature which I always loved about Google Maps was search. I was really smart, very fast and it simply worked the way you’d expected. Somehow the search in new Google Maps stopped working like it used to. Sometimes when I search for a street it shows me streets in different cities. I don’t really know what has changed but it doesn’t work that well anymore. I was often using it as a local search app to find cool places to go around. I had to switch to Foursquare.

3. WHERE IS MY TRAFFIC?

Google Maps - TrafficIt’s true that the old design of Google Map was a little bit rough and based on XX-century interface but it was easy to find everything. Of course it’s a matter of getting used to it… but I hate that now I have to always search for that button ‘traffic’ or ‘public transportation’. In the new Google Maps it pops up when place cursor on the search box. Let’s be honest it tries to be smarter but I think it might be much less intuitive for a lot of users. At least for now.

4. STREET VIEW – ARE YOU THERE?

Google Maps - Street ViewStreet View is one of the greatest innovations in web mapping ever. Google improved the technology used by companies like Tele Atlas which where filming the road as a source for spatial data creation but Google did what it does best – took it to the different level – and gave that images back to people. I love Street View and I often used it before I go to the part of the city I don’t know. Why is such an important feature hidden in the right bottom of the map? I would also expect that it would be a continuation of the largest zoom (like it used to be in Google Earth. Somehow it seems that Google didn’t use the full potential of Street View.

What is your opinion about new Google Maps?

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I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.

124 COMMENTS

  1. Couldn’t agree more Aleks, this new Google Maps is the worst step backward I’ve even seen by Google, after almost 6 months of trying it’s beta version I had to go back to the old google maps every single time I used this kind of hate experiment.
    I honestly think Google is putting us users to the test to see how much can they annoy us before we move on to something else. I would add several more points to yours, like where is the search results list, the add this to my sites, the share button, the insert this on your page and many other features that are now hidden somewhere deep inside this monster.
    K.R.

    • I’m starting to think that people who actually know how to use and read maps, to navigate, are in a shrinking minority. Most people now just follow the directions & the GPS rather than using those tools to enhance a mental picture of the terrain like a real navigator. Thus the feature bloat and crapification of Google Maps. Every time it does that video-game swoop from maps to street view I want to depants a google engineer and stuff him in his @#$% locker.

  2. They really broke it didn’t they. The directions feature which was my favourite feature is now quite useless. I want to stay with Google but they have made me go over to Bing. Maybe there’s other stuff on Bing I should look at……

  3. My places and satellite view. Oh there are two separate apps for that. I’m told my places are in maps engine lite, sat view? Use Google earth. Cmon people why be upset? Why is it bad to use 3 apps instead of one? All praise Google and their infinite wisdom.

    Was that sarcastic enough?

  4. totally agree. I might explain my dislike for the interface with me being old and grumpy, but the slowness is really a killer, and search results quality is really worse

  5. Going back to the Old Google Maps is one of the best upgrades ever.

    It feel like I just doubled my processor power

  6. You left out the absence of “My Places” for those of us who have gathered map data for years and don’t want to be pointed to the highest paying location, this is utterly useless.

  7. HATE the new google maps. Can’t believe it’s still up after all these
    months. Even Bing, with its crapfest just a tad better than
    the new google mess, is an improvement.

    At least they’re offering a way to revert to the old google maps.

  8. Clunky and slow and the UI is bloated and bad. The old Maps was quick and nicer to look at and use. Google messed up… again.

  9. Your forgetting about the millions of us who’ve added great photos to places Google’s cameras cant reach. This was perfect if you were planning a day out or going holiday. Or even if you were planning a move to see local photographers photos of the place and culture you planned to visit.

    What a stab in the back Google! Any money they disband http://www.panoramio.com/user/7007010 who host the Google photos.

  10. I got here after googling “google street view very slow”, while waiting for the stupidly hi-res imagery to replace the black shapes still covering 70% of my window. Agree with the comments re. usability – it’s like whoever was behind Windows 8 has left Microsoft and is now working for Google. They’ve taken something superb and made it mediocre.

    • Agree. Some Win 8 folks got into Google and without regard to how the product is used, rewrote it. We knew we were in trouble when the New Maps would send us back to the Old Maps because a feature was no longer supported. If Bing Maps is smart, they will copy the Old Google Maps and then run ads saying, “Miss Google Map Classic? Visit the new Bing Maps.”

  11. and why is the huge search box taking up a third of the screen and covering what i just searched for? if I try to minimize it I loose my search results. grrrr. really bad design – why so huge??

  12. I can’t believe how bad it is. I have been using Google maps ever day recently while house hunting, and I have been using it constantly, particularly Street View, to plan cycle rides, which I video and write up about. The new Google Maps is technically more difficult to use. The zoom/street view function was excellent. Now everything is all over the place. Street view DOES NOT WORK. All I get is a black screen with full functionality (Firefox). After the debacle of Google+ and what they have done to YT comments, it seems Google’s mission is to make as many people angry with as much great technology as possible. They have zero customer feedback. Contacting them and letting them know is impossible. The only way is to stop giving them clicks, which is very hard to do given their monopolised net position. It is time to migrate from Google as much as possible, find alternative searches and map apps.

    New Google Maps is truly awful – the worse thing is this is product finalised after many trials, this is what they are happy with.

      • No! Sorry! That doesn’t work!! I mean, it works but not really really. You see, When you use GSV on a particular location (eg. The New Yorker Hotel, NYC) you get the latest views on the new maps, in this case Jun/2014 now open your link and go to the very same location and you get an older version. Try it! New Yorker hotel! just an example. You can clearly see all the scafolding in 1 image and none in the other.

        • Hey, yes, I see what you’re saying. That seems to be a new thing, though. They probably somehow stopped updating the classic one…which is weird, because I thought they’re using same shots, but just a different application to view the stuff. Anyway, I mostly use GMaps to find routes, so I still prefer classic ones, as they’re less cluttered and I can zoom in and out of the street view. There’s too much stuff going on, moving, expanding, collapsing on its own, and can’t keep the “work area” clean… I find them user unfriendly for smaller screens. Thanks for letting me know about this, though. Now I know that in case I need a recent “scenery” I’d go down to the view in the new maps.

  13. I hate the new Google Maps so much. I rage quite every time I use it, but not before giving detailed and ragey (I’m not proud of it) feedback.

  14. you can actually go back to the classic google maps by clicking on the ? balloon on the bottom right of the new maps pages

    • Thank you, that’s the best thing I have found about new google maps – I can go back to a proper map 🙂

      How could they make such a mess?

  15. Not to mention Maps crashes Firefox half of the time and my entire laptop the other half. Also, it used to be easy to create and save a map with multiple destinations, which I loved while traveling. On business trips, I sometimes have to visit 10 to 15 different places in an unfamiliar city. The old maps let me plan a route in advance and it would integrate with my smartphone navigator to take me from one place to the next with ease. Now… well, I can’t even get as far as multiple locations because my screen is black before I’m finished saving the first one.

  16. I can’t even use this new Google Maps. I pull the street view character away from the bottom right corner to drop it the entire map zooms out. After I managed to finally drop the character to view one location I go to drop it in another and when I pull the character to drop it it automatically goes to the old location. Somebody really fucked this program up bad and should be taken to the back of the barn and shot.

  17. I’ve always thought Google maps to be innovative, with a badly designed gui. Furthermore, it rarely gets my position right and info shared from the web version (such as an address) don’t always work on the android app.

  18. The ‘new’ (now not so new lol) Gmaps is a colossal shipwreck. Paging Andrea Doria!

    It is sloooooooooooooooooowwwww even on a high end PC. The user interface is not user friendly, and street view is hard to find and is sloooooooooooow. Search is now all but useless. Aerial view is mediocre.

    I’ve given up on Gmaps until they fire the 2nd grader they hired to design and implement it.

    In case anyone wants to try it, Bing maps is actually very good for PC use (especially the birds eye view). Bing Maos is about 15 years ahead of Gmaps, Ironically.

    Google, you utterly botched this “update.”

  19. eYah, it’s fucking crap. You pick up the man and drag him anywhere near the God damn search window thingie the whole search apparatus unfolds all over the screen like Stewart Lee vomiting humorous anecdotes. Actually, in fact, whenever I place the pointer anywhere near the fucking Left Half of The Screen, this blasphemy happens. Fucking boxes, and boxes, and boxes, defeating the whole god damned point of opening a God damned map.

  20. I just googled “google maps slow” to try and find out whether it was my end or their end that was making it so painfully slow. Their end. Now I know and can stop using it.

    Thanks for the oldschool link, that is Google Maps as it should be. Not Snail Maps.

  21. It is just amazing how much Google Maps sucks now. I am completely afraid of even touching the mouse as soon as it’s open, as no matter where or how I move the mouse pointer, 10 things pop up, pop out, pop in or pop down in a seemingly random fashion, options disappear as soon as I’ve almost managed to hit them with the mouse, etc… it’s very clearly visible that this interface is made by total nerds who have never actually seen anything beyond their server basement.

  22. Agree 100%. I think you left out how you can no longer use the My Location feature as a starting point or as any point at all! This is so frustrating… and they mention this in their help forum:

    Currently, you can’t automatically get directions to or from your location using the “blue dot” in the new Google Maps. You need to type your location.

    Maybe I should just get an old fashion paper map and do all the work myself, cause clearly this guys turned an awesome software into crap.

  23. New Google Maps is terrible! Microsoft has mastered the now we’re going to put everything you’re used to in a different section of the screen with Outlook. Every “upgrade” and the folders are in a different section… top, left, right and now with 2013 on the bottom.
    Google thinks that is a good idea? WTF!? Zoom and Street View are in the top left. Keep them there!! Or… let us customize where we want them. Also what the hell is that giant box in the top left corner blocking 25% of my map? (My laptop has a small screen). Come on I’m here to look at a map not your BS.
    Rant over, serenity now… serenity now…

  24. To bad they have shut down the old set up all together, that was a handy tool for people who travel a lot. now its just dman clunky and devoid of the options you used to have, and slow as shite

  25. You are missing what sucks most: That after 1 sec the map is overlaid with a big black box so you can’t see anything at all.

    aka: new google maps is buggy as hell.

  26. I hate, hate, hate the new Google maps. who on earth decides these changes?? It is so frustrating to use that I don’t bother with it anymore. how can a company improve things when there is no way anyone can leave them feedback. Its beyond me. i think they are all living in La-La land.

  27. I’ve gone back to Classic. I like to map site-seeing routes, but I can’t do a round trip in the new map. e.g. a square like: go from A->B, right turn to C, right turn to D, right turn back to A. As soon as I get to D, the route flips to the reverse direction, going A->D->C instead of A->B->C->D->A

  28. I tried using maps today. Slow blank or black screens. Screen doesn’t move to typed street address. Tried to tell google how much their products suck these days including gmail chrome & search. Discovered its more laborious to do so then it’s worth. Using bing for maps and search now.

  29. What I hate about Google Maps is that they are so inaccurate. We have a Government mapping service in New Zealand, and it’s maps are very accurate. By contrast, Google maps are imprecise, suburbs are placed in the wrong position, and a lot of detail is missing. For NZ, go to LINZ for maps.

  30. Google will not allow me back into Classic maps as at 14 November 2014. There is no way I will pay this dog for a down grade into layers of crap

  31. Try to calculate directions from one place to another. Can’t even do it right. I feel like I am in a planetarium with some sheet planets/buttons, floating around my head. Not good. It is as good as the youtube comment section, in another words = useless trash. At least before these two applications pretended that it was for us. Now it all about them. About restaurants and “things near by”.

    Try to really filter to find someone on facebook, impossible.

  32. Hey! Some people are recommending an older link to G maps. But that doesn’t work!! I mean, it works but not really really. You see, When you use GSV on a particular location (eg. The New Yorker Hotel, NYC) you get the latest views on the new maps, in this case Jun/2014 now open the link to older versio and go to the very same location and you get an older version. Try it! New Yorker hotel! just an example. You can clearly see all the scafolding in 1 image and none in the other.

  33. This happens when a company grows too big. Google is not about efficiency. It’s about marketing, data collection and producing bloatware out of their good ideas. Time for us to learn how to avoid Google products. At least, I’m not buying a new computer and trashing the old one, just because Google provides a bloated solution (like Google Maps) on a bloated framework (JavaScript).

  34. also I dont like the “search” part on the left constantly showing something and toggling on and off. sometimes I want to search something but then I want to browse map and this top left part is very annoying.

  35. 1. Root the phone (make sure to buy a phone that allows this)
    2. Install ES File Manager and Superuser.
    3. Enable Root Explorer and grant permission.
    4. Rename maps.apk to something else.
    5. Install Maps 6.14.apk
    6. Profit!

    For now, for future, maybe forever.

  36. Yes to all the above.
    It makes me miserable. “…so slow that I actually feel older when it finally loads. ” is exactly right.
    Street view is pretty well unusable for me.

  37. How to disable the autozoom in maps and in street view. It is really irritating that map is not how I want to see. In stead it is constantly zooming in/out etc. This really sucks.

  38. Why is it since the economy crash internet companies have been sucking more and more like Google and Yahoo? Google has totally killed innovation when they shut down Google Labs *which is why the maps suck* and Yahoo went to their *purple* format which no nobody answers you’re questions unless it’s about politics.

    Anyways I’m done ranting but needed a place to blow off steam as I have a score to settle with Google. Wish I could take them out back and beat em up!

  39. It is beyond dispute that the new google maps SUCKS, so here is the million dollar question: why is it still in existence? Google deliberately continues to provide something people hate, when it would be just as easy to fall back on the old maps. Can anyone offer at least a half-plausible explanation for this? I literally hate everything about google maps. It’s a textbook example of a faulty product being substituted for a good one. WHY??

  40. Don’t forget the google motto of arrogance “works for me, in my own cubicle, with my 8-core 128gb RAM solid state $6000 high end PC what’s YOUR problem”.

  41. The new google maps sucks for me because in my rural community I am forced to use a wireless 3G connection with a 5 gig cap per month. the old maps didn’t use too much data or bandwidth. The new google maps sucks it like a vampire so I am forced to use another map program, PS. I like to map bike rides with the old maps you could put together a 20 turn 2,000 mile ride with the new maps you are limited to ten stops or turns and yeah. it sucks.

  42. I hate the new maps as well. I may need to find another map site. This is just not working for me. I can’t see what is nearby with the million little boxes all over the place and when I go to close them, it closes the entire directions search. No more google mapping for me.

  43. They have now forced new google maps on us. I live in Canada and use the metric system. (so does my car) When I map from Canada to the USA, it switches to miles and there is no way to switch back. (classic maps at least offered the option) Wow this is aweful. #newgooglemapssuck

  44. Not to mention it won’t let you drag start and stop points for directions anymore, which basically makes it useless for what I use it for, giving people routes and eta’s based on traffic and where they’re at. I Guess I’ll start using Bing. ugh.

  45. Designed by “shiny bums” who catch the bus to work and ride their push bikes to the corner store on weekends

  46. The geniuses at google have managed to ruin classic google maps, one of the best features of the internet.

  47. I hate the new google maps, I want the classic back. We should have a choice, this is not a dictatorship, I dont want to be told what to look at. I want the classic google maps back.

  48. The new map is awful! Streetview was one of the greatest things google ever did and they’ve gone and ruined it. Bring back the classic map NOW!!!

  49. Google maps sucks. Google has become evil. The API bit is a nightmare, and the whole goal is to make money. 99% of business have no need to post Google’s street view on their sites. Why is it so complex just to get basic html code for one’s address that links to Google so customers can find a company’s location. I guess one could always hyperlink a screenshot.

  50. use bing maps, now is much better than google maps. need street view? then go back go GM to use it and quickly return to BM…
    plus bing maps in the uk you give us access to the ordnance survey maps, which is great!!

  51. I can’t stand new Google maps. You used to be able to select Classic maps, now that option has been taken away. I can’t find the menu, the drop down bar hides what I want to see on the map, when I select print it zooms out 2 times from what I selected…it sucks major big time!

  52. I hate the new goodle maps, I like the classic much better. the new maps has a getting around box that takes up too much space on the screen and not everyone needs it. make it go away.
    why did they have to change it, it was good the way it was.

  53. I’ve been desperately trying to go back to the old version – when it first forced me to switch over the option to return to classic maps was there, but when I clicked on it, the screen would just freeze. Now the option is gone entirely. I fucking HATE the new version!

  54. I totally agree. I always relied on the far superior ‘classic’ maps, which JUST WORKED. Why did Google waste time making a fantastic product completely crap? Well, I know really – it’s so their employees can justify their existence, in the same way that Apple will roll out regular downgrades to their iOS that offer no benefits whatsoever.

  55. What brainless lunatic decided to make the ‘new’ google maps obligatory ?? Quite obviously google doesn’t listen to any of the umpty zillion complaints about the updated abortion. I for one will switch to whereis permanently because google maps suck.

  56. Unfortunately, gmaps for android is a garbage too. The text is in all screen. Not space to see the maps. horrible. What is happening with the google staff?

  57. I cannot anymore. I have tried for months. But it is impossible.

    The new Google Maps is a reeking heap of lizard droppings. It is slow. It is clunky. It requires multiple clicks to do just about anything. The predictive search is appalling. Most features are hidden (click-click-click-click). And so much of the screen is taken up by boxes and stuff that you’re dead in the water with anything less than a 23″ monitor.

    All praise be to the Nokia Maps on my phone which opens instantly and shows me what I want in a snap. I never used to use it much, but with the new Google Maps being so turdy, I’ve come to rely on it.

    Honestly Google, please replace your maps dev team with people who understand what a map is used for (finding stuff). I don’t care whether it’s pretty or not, I want to be able to find where I’m going. I used to use Google Maps daily, but I’ve just realised I avoid it now and my most recent attempt is what gave rise to this rant.

    Just give us back an option to use the old maps please.

  58. I’m old skool.. running 2.8 dual core on XP. Old google maps worked just fine as does everything else on my PC including CPU hungry VSTis. The new Google Maps brings my browser to a standstill. Don’t even think about zooming in son.

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  62. 1)first thing I don’t like about google maps is the using geographic names with political view like adding a r a bi an gulf beside the name of Persian gulf.the second thing is for finding directions you should always use a sec ond app to find thing like metro ways.

  63. Beyond wretched. Trying to use User maps to save a few simple locations. I forgot to order the 1,500 page Forgotten Google Maps Manual.

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