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Google Removes "Search Nearby" Function From Updated Google Maps 255

Posted by timothy
from the where-are-you-again? dept.
First time accepted submitter BillCable writes "One of the most useful and intuitive features of Google's Map tool was the "Search nearby" link. After searching for a location, users could click on a marker on the map to pop open a window with the address and other details. This window also contained a link to 'Search nearby' — extremely useful if you want to find a list of restaurants near a hotel, the closest pharmacy, or any other business you might want to patronize. Google recently updated their map tool, and 'Search nearby' is no longer present. The 300 posts to the Google Product Forums complaining about this omission indicates this is a feature Maps users sorely miss. Google's work-around (detailed by Google staff in said thread) are a poor substitute and unreliable. There is no indication Google will add the feature to their new tool. For now users are able to revert to the original Google Maps with the 'Search nearby' feature intact. But there's concern that when Google discontinues support that the feature will be lost. So why would Google remove one of its best features?"
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Google Removes "Search Nearby" Function From Updated Google Maps

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  • Yelp has this (Score:4, Informative)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:24PM (#45978037) Homepage

    It's far from a perfect replacement, but Yelp lets you search for businesses and such by location. You can narrow it down my moving/zooming the mini-map in the sidebar.

  • Inconsistent results (Score:4, Informative)

    by Naatach (574111) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:29PM (#45978097)
    I use the feature, but I'm not always impressed by the results. It has my exact location, but often suggests stores that are much further away. There are many times when I will search for a store trying to find the closest, but it pushes me to one across town. It is useful, so I hope it comes back, but fixed.
  • Re:Patent problem? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:34PM (#45978157) Journal

    That is my thought, too. Worse, Google's own lawyers probably decided they wouldn't win.

    This doesn't surprise me. I used to work on navigation systems, and obvious ideas (to me) were turned down because they were already patented -- things like "find me the nearest McDonald's or fast food on the road ahead/programmed route".

    IIRC, even things like company-specific icons on the map were already taken.

  • Re:Just a guess (Score:5, Informative)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:45PM (#45978281)

    I never used "Search Nearby", so what was the difference between that and putting "brothels near 1600 pennsylvania avenue washington dc"?

    2 diferences:

    1) Search Nearby did not need an address. You could use "my current location" for example, as a starting point. This is valuable or people who are unfamiliar with an area, because they might not even know an address for their location.

    2) The example you gave -- which was Google's suggested workaround -- as often as not does not work, according to users.

    The simple fact is that Google, yet again, took something that was well-thought-out, and was well liked and oft used by their users, and messed it up.

    According to the forum linked above, Mapquest still has this feature. I might give it a try.

  • by jfengel (409917) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @02:55PM (#45978395) Homepage Journal

    I'm running with the "classic" Google Maps because the new Google Maps is missing a lot of features that I find important. It still has this feature.

    I don't know why they remove useful, functional features. I've always assumed it had to do with streamlining the interfaces, Apple-style (motto: "It's either easy or it's impossible"). But they don't seem to end up more friendly or usable.

    I keep expecting them to start adding new features such that I'm forced to abandon the classic maps if I want them, but as far as I can tell there's nothing compelling about the new Maps, and I'll keep with the classic until they stop offering it.

    I'm a big fan of Google, and I really love the way they give me cool stuff for free. I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt when they stop supporting things, and assume it means that they're working on other cool stuff. But this has me rather perplexed: a lot of work put into a new interface which is not just feature-poor but clunky.

  • You can still do every single thing you said above. The people are complaining about some button that you are not even mentioning. I don't even know how to get to the functionality they are talking about.

  • Re:Just a guess (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zalbik (308903) on Thursday January 16, 2014 @07:42PM (#45980973)

    But those 20% are just 20%. You cater to the other 80%.


    Every year, just maintain the features that 80% of the users use, and drop the other 20%. After all, why bother maintaining features that don't cater to the precious 80%?

    Strangely, after 5 years you find your company's market share has dropped to just 30% of what it was 5 years ago, and the code base has gotten surprisingly slim....I wonder why that is?

...though his invention worked superbly -- his theory was a crock of sewage from beginning to end. -- Vernor Vinge, "The Peace War"