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Google

What Happened to Google Maps? (justinobeirne.com) 263

Google Maps has reduced the number of cities it shows by up to 83% over the past few years, according to Justin O'Beirne. Maps, in addition, has increased the number of roads it showcases. O'Beirne, who writes about digital maps, in a blog post outlines the changes Google has made to its mapping and navigation service over the years. The side-by-side screenshots comparison on his blog post shows that Google has largely abandoned labelling towns and cities in favor of showing as many roads as it can. He has also looked into several elements of Maps from the design standpoint, and questioned Google's decision. He writes: If these roads were so important that they deserved to be upgraded in appearance, why weren't they also given shield icons? After all, an unlabeled road is only half as useful as a labeled one. [...] [Comparing Google Maps to a paper map] Even though it's from the early 1960s, the old print map has so much more information than the Google Map. So many more cities. So many more road labels. And the text size is comparable between the two. O'Beirne believes that Google has made these changes to better serve mobile users. "Unfortunately, these 'optimizations' only served to exacerbate the longstanding imbalances already in the maps," he writes. "As is often the case with cartography: less isn't more. Less is just less."
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What Happened to Google Maps?

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    He may want to ask "What happened to HTML?" instead. Requiring JavaScript just to be able to display text and a few images is insta-fail.

  • by known_coward_69 ( 4151743 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:16PM (#52024427)
    news at 11 most people use it for navigation in their cars, so roads are more important
    • lol, exactly. Why is this surprising?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I think there is more to it than just showing more roads. Looking at the old maps, they are cluttered. The city names obscure a lot of the roads and details. If you don't know exactly where a city is, scanning for it visually is inefficient when you can just search. Most users will be searching anyway.

    • Turn right HERE! [youtube.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:17PM (#52024435)

    ...I still have hipsters looking at me with disdain.

    1) My paper has never experienced a fault while on the move.
    2) My paper has more detail than your electronic maps.
    3) My paper allows me to see more of the map at once.

    Google Maps is intended as a dumbed down service. Expect it to be dumbed down.

    • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:46PM (#52024573) Homepage
      You appear to have misunderstood the hipster phenomenon. "Hipsters" in the modern sense aren't really the type of people at the cutting edge of technology, or at least they don't pretend to be that way.

      Hipsters are the type of people who made Lomography rich by buying overpriced, overmarketed crappy film cameras bought purely for their imperfect, anti-digital aesthetic. Hipsters are probably the people that started the current vinyl revival, and likely don't care that much about vinyl per se, so much as a twee different-for-the-sake-of-being-different-in-the-same-way-as-everyone-else form of rebellion.

      Of course, they're probably just as "digital" as everyone else, if not more; Instagram is essentially that anti-digital aesthetic automated and faked via entirely digital means for the online social media age. However, the pretence is otherwise.

      They're the sort of people who probably *would* use paper maps just for the sake of being different. (This says nothing either way about whether paper maps are actually better).
      • by Sique ( 173459 )
        Originally, the lomography was a picture taken with the Lomo camera [wikipedia.org] of soviet origin. A group of people from Vienna (Austria) was organizing collections and galleries of snapshot pictures taken with the Lomo, and they called it Lomography. Later, they looked for other cameras with a similar aura of imperfection and original design, and they sold it under the Lomography label.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      1) Have you never tried to fold a map?
      2) Only if you never zoom in and out with an electronic map
      3) again, only if you never zoom in and out.

      Apparently the primary issue is that you can't zoom. Fix that, and learn to pre-load maps for remote areas, and you'll be fine. I've never had a fault on the move. The only benefit of paper maps is when hiking. Be without power for a week or so, and most electronic maps won't work so well. And using compasses doesn't work the same on an electronic map as paper.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        One of the things the army teaches people is how to fold a map so it's accessible and useful to you. You know those big pockets on cargo pants? They're map pockets. A folded map is still much bigger that any smartphone screen and gives you much better awareness of that gigantic cathedral that's just off to the side of your smartphone map. I do use my smartphone for navigation at times, but just as your actual desktop will always be bigger than your computer 'desktop', so a map will always be bigger than you

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          People don't use phones for orienteering. It's not the right tool. The complaint "phones are bad for orienteering" is silly. The complaint that spoken directions are a bad replacement for maps is similarly silly. A phone with an Internet connection is superior to a map for all road-based car directions. You shouldn't be reading a map while driving, and the phone maps will be stripped of almost all useful information to show you your route at a glance, it assumes you are driving. You can't use a paper
    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @05:38PM (#52024813) Homepage

      1) My paper has never experienced a fault while on the move.

      Mine have... water got on it and smeared the damned ink from the inkjet printer.

      2) My paper has more detail than your electronic maps.
      Bet it doesnt, go ahead and ZOOM your paper in.

      3) My paper allows me to see more of the map at once.
      Having an active dot on the map serving as a "you are here" is far better than trying to figure it out with paper while driving. I've done it before, I used to always ride with a paper map on my tank bag. Bought a $650 GPS this year for the bike and it kicks paper maps asses so hard it's not funny.

      • by Trogre ( 513942 )

        Overall I prefer electronic maps too, but there are definite advantages in paper:

        They don't have batteries that expire when you need them most.
        They still work in tunnels and parking buildings.

      • Having an active dot on the map serving as a "you are here" is far better than trying to figure it out with paper while driving

        Most definitely but not just driving. I have a terrible sense of direction and wouldn't know my north from south. Even a hand drawn map is a challenge when using public transport. You arrive at 8pm, in the dark, and you're lost in a new city because you exited the train station at the wrong exit. Retracing your steps or asking a local who doesn't speak English well... And of cours

    • I still *carry* paper maps on the road with me, but I very rarely ever use the darn things anymore. They're heavy, bulky, and having a blinking GPS dot that says "your dumb ass is right here" is rather handy sometimes.

      I have my tablet loaded with MAPS.ME, which is quite possibly the most awesome mobile application ever. It allows you to download all the datasets for anywhere you'll be (which are based off the OpenStreetmap dataset), such that you have very finely detailed maps at any zoom level with abso

    • I feel that paper maps are much better for developing a "feel" of the area/route. After looking at a paper map and tracing my intended route carefully, I am able to navigate by myself, more-or-less. But when I use navigation on a cellphone screen, I kinda just give up and do what the computer says because I just cannot see enough detail at once to really grok the geography. It may just be a problem with me ofc.

    • by cyn1c77 ( 928549 )

      ...I still have hipsters looking at me with disdain.

      1) My paper has never experienced a fault while on the move.
      2) My paper has more detail than your electronic maps.
      3) My paper allows me to see more of the map at once.

      Google Maps is intended as a dumbed down service. Expect it to be dumbed down.

      Real drivers know where they're going and don't need any form of maps. They look upon print and electronic map users alike with disdain!

    • ...and you can't use them safely while driving.

      Paper maps have their advantages, but they are usually for planning when you can spread them out on a table before a trip AND if you have the right scale. During driving itself they are only better if you have an experienced co-pilot to serve as navigator.

    • 1) My paper has never experienced a fault while on the move.

      Lucky you, my paper maps have suffered chocolate stains, insect damage (possibly related to the chocolate stains), a serious lack of updates, and darkness during the night because my driver refuses turn on the light inside the car while driving (or to stop the car to even look at the map).

    • ...I still have hipsters looking at me with disdain.

      1) My paper has never experienced a fault while on the move. 2) My paper has more detail than your electronic maps. 3) My paper allows me to see more of the map at once.

      Google Maps is intended as a dumbed down service. Expect it to be dumbed down.

      If you're out hiking or camping, yes, I agree. Bring a paper map. Even better would be to bring a plastic coated map that is protected against weather and allows you to make marks on it with a grease pencil. But in my car I have my phone and my GPS unit that will allow me to view the map without needing a GPS satellite. I can manage just fine around town and even on a road trip. I know where I am going in general because I've already studied a map before I left. I usually want turn by turn directions

  • Disappearing content more than appearing. Right to be forgotten, privacy, etc. It's all good and dandy but boy was Streetview way more usable just a couple years ago for telecom purposes and what not. Maybe a good thing since it's better to support open especially for cartography purposes. Oblig http://www.openstreetmap.org/ [openstreetmap.org] link.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google maps has always been terrible compared to the old paper maps from the 1980s and earlier. It's like the Google Maps people threw every convention that road mapmakers used and decided they could do it better.

    They still haven't done it better.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:22PM (#52024453)

    Everybody is adapting the web for the phones and removing important and useful features in the process. Whereas some sites in the past had a minimalist phone version we're getting stuck now with major sites eliminating critical features for everybody. I don't really know what to do about it, but I don't like it. I guess the only thing one really can do is look elsewhere. Unfortunately in many cases there are monopolies or features missing from other companies products / service in part due to these entities disproportionately smaller size.

    • by FrankHaynes ( 467244 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @05:34PM (#52024791)

      Google Maps seems to remove features with every successive release of Maps for Android.

      You used to be able to measure distances on the mobile Maps app, but not any more.

      You used to be able to plot a course or set waypoints on your desktop computer with its big screen where you could see a lot more, then pull up that route on your phone with the mobile app. Not any more.

      I used to be able to publish a link to my location plotted on an embedded map on my personal web site so my friends could track me on road trips. They took that away claiming that idiots were forgetting about their public links and violating their own privacy. So to protect people from their own stupidity, ostensibly, they removed that feature.

      I've forgotten all the features that they've removed just in the past couple of years.

      In recent versions Maps INSISTS that you turn on wifi in order to get an accurate plot of your location even with GPS already enabled. This tells me that they continue to map wifi access points as you move around to add to their database. It has nothing to do with improving the accuarcy of your location, that's BS.

  • by ffkom ( 3519199 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:45PM (#52024565)
    ... than Google Maps. OpenStreetMap has way more details and much more up-to-date information - the only thing it doesn't have is, of course, sattelite images - but I hardly need those to navigate. The biggest plus of OpenStreeMap of course is that I can use it completely offline, and I don't have to share my life with Alphabet, the data Kraken company.
    • by Not_Wiggins ( 686627 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @07:03PM (#52025225) Journal

      There's a really (basic) reason why Open StreetMap has longer legs than ANY of the commercial company solutions (like Tom Tom, Nokia HERE (ex-NAVTEQ), GoogleMaps, etc).
      The problem is solely one of maintenance.
      How do these companies get their maps? They do so by driving over roads with equipment that collects GPS data (of varying degrees of accuracy... not important to talk about methods/accuracy for this particular point).
      Think about that... when a company first launches (like Google Maps did a number of years ago), they can be "accurate" because they just drive around everywhere for the first time. That's relatively easy to track.

      But then... changes happen. Roads get new construction, or there are new areas that are built up (with new roads or roads get new paths).
      How does one keep track of all the changes that can happen anywhere in the world? One can't.

      Well... a centralized company "can't." It is logistically improbable to keep a map up to date unless a company is planning on continuously driving every road because, frankly, it isn't notified about all the little changes that can happen anywhere; it takes a really long time to "drive every road."

      It is no surprise that Google Maps has started to suffer from this. They were driving around and collecting their own data to make the maps and compete with the "other maps/navigation companies."

      To that end, a concept of community supported map update (like OpenStreetMap) makes sense; I *know* when the street outside my house has changed. I can go someplace and make an update/submit information about a change when it is community based. In fact, I had to do this on several map company sites because my street was "new" for a new sub-division.

      Now, with that said, there is one thing I'll say about Google Maps that might be a saving (?) grace: anyone using Google on their cell is "phoning home" a ton of information... including location (wonder how Google knows about traffic conditions when they don't have implanted sensors/cameras on the roads?). If they were to try and leverage that information, perhaps the map data can be kept up to date by (indirect) consensus based on drivers GPS intel. Of course, you won't get a lot of detail about non-popular travel points. And maybe that's the point... if they're dropping detail related to the less traveled/popular locations, that can fit with dropping their "go drive everywhere and measure it with a Google truck" plan.

      I don't work for Google, so I can't speak directly for their strategy.
      It just seems to fit a common problem with keeping any map up-to-date. How any company can keep an eye on relevant changes in a timely fashion?
      Looks like they've given up on trying to "get it all" and are falling back on easy data from the Google hive mind. 8/

  • More is not better (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jgotts ( 2785 ) <jgotts@@@gmail...com> on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:49PM (#52024589)

    The best analogy I can give is comparing maps of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Paris, and France available from 2000-2005 (over the years, I bought a thick stack of them) when I was frequenty traveling to Western Europe with American style maps, for example, AAA maps from that era.

    The European-produced maps I looked at were extremely detailed. They seemed to lose track of the forest for the trees. It seemed like they had to label everything, and that they were going for photo accuracy with road routes, etc.

    On the other hand, AAA maps lack a lot of detail but they're much easier to use "at a glance." They aren't as precise, but they give you the gist much better. You were able to pull over and look at a AAA map and get your bearings within minutes. You could even carefully look at a AAA map while driving.

    The European maps I looked at, on the other hand, I think were meant to be studied for 15 minutes before setting out on your journey. If you pulled out one of these maps while walking around in a sketchy area, for example in shadier parts of Amsterdam, you were liable to get mugged. On the other hand, armed with one of these European-style maps at your hotel room, you would need nothing else to get to your destination. The incredibly detailed map would give you an unambiguous route to your exact destination.

    Now that they don't make many printed maps anymore, we have a similar situation for online maps. You don't want or need a super-detailed map on your phone. You want something that will get you to your destination in an expedient fashion. In fact, the map itself is less important than the route. Do you need to browse a map with every street, city, town, and park on your phone? No way. You type in the exact place you want to go and your phone takes you there. If you want to explore a detailed map at your leisure while sitting at home don't use smartphone app. Don't use Google Maps. Find something else. To most people this use case is not wanted, and added detail is unwanted distraction.

    • by JanneM ( 7445 )

      It's called "Google Maps"; though, not "Google Driving Instructions". You note yourself that finding the route from A to B is only one possible use of a map. Google Maps is increasingly failing at most of those other uses. perhaps they should rename it to "Google GPS" and leave the actual map field to other companies.

      • by rsborg ( 111459 )

        It's called "Google Maps"; though, not "Google Driving Instructions". You note yourself that finding the route from A to B is only one possible use of a map. Google Maps is increasingly failing at most of those other uses. perhaps they should rename it to "Google GPS" and leave the actual map field to other companies.

        They should just call it the Google Positioning System... you know, GPS!

    • by sk999 ( 846068 )

      Back in the day of free maps from gas stations, the ones from Esso (made by General Drafting Co.) were considered the best. I still have my copy of "New England Road Map" from 1988 (this one made for Shaw's Supermarkets, not Exxon). AAA maps are also quite good, but my local AAA is now closed.

    • Now that they don't make many printed maps anymore,

      FWIW you can still go into AAA and get a whole case of them free (for members).

      • by TMB ( 70166 )

        And every US state has official road maps for free at the first visitor's center after you cross the state line.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:49PM (#52024591) Homepage Journal

    It's UI design, and that's task-oriented.

    Paper maps are highly versatile, general purpose tools. You can do all kinds of things with them, and generally speaking the more data they cram in (in a clever way of course) the better. They're like a swiss army knife; you want them to serve in any possible occasion.

    Digital map displays are embedded in a user interface; they're a backdrop that provides the user with useful contextual information as he attempts to perform some specific task. The better you understand how the user performs that task, the more you can pare down irrelevant context that might detract from that task. Now there have been many times I wished the Google Maps UI was a little more versatile, but in general it does really well at the kinds of search and navigation tasks people mainly use it for, e.g. finding all the doughnut stores in Quincy, MA [google.com].

    So basically you can't automatically apply criteria you'd use in a paper map to a digital display, although it's certainly helpful to under stand those criteria.

    • Showing more roads would possibly be more task oriented IF YOU KNEW WHAT THE ROADS WERE.

      If a map shows you to turn on a street, but does not provide a table for that street (has happened to me in Waze before) that SUCKS for the task at hand.

      I would argue though that knowing what cities are around you is as much a part of the "task" of driving as knowing the roads.

      It seems liker there should be some zoom level or perhaps rate of travel where precedence for roads vs. cities display would alter...

      • by hey! ( 33014 )

        If the UI doesn't suit the task, it's a bad UI. There'd be nothing unusual in that, that's for sure. I'm just saying that you can't criticize a UI for not being like a paper artifact; you can only criticize them for not supporting the task adequately.

        Of course understanding how people use paper artifacts is an important first step in automating something that heretofore has only been done manually, something I've done frequently in my career but I suspect is becoming much less common these days.

        • by Rei ( 128717 )

          If use-cases vary, then they should have the product designed with selectable modes for the different use cases. And the ability to remember a user's selection.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by jrumney ( 197329 )
      It's like the guy took a road atlas from 1978 and started complaining that it didn't indicate as many submerged rocks as his the chart his forebears sailed to the US with. And this is what passes for front page news on slashdot these days...
  • Choice (Score:5, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @04:54PM (#52024613)

    What this does is highlight what Google is famous for- not giving any user choice. It runs throughout most of their products and platforms.

    Instead of deciding for us how something must be to best meet the assumed majority, what would be nice would be to simply let us CHOOSE what options we want. What font size, if we want the scale meter to be shown, how much detail we want to see, etc.

    I am sick of the "modern" "simple" design of everything that is supposedly so superior... because it isn't. Removing all controls and choices, hiding everything, getting rid of settings, etc. No thanks.

    • Re:Choice (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @08:17PM (#52025527)

      I am sick of the "modern" "simple" design of everything that is supposedly so superior... because it isn't. Removing all controls and choices, hiding everything, getting rid of settings, etc. No thanks.

      Agreed 100%. Let me choose the options and settings I like. Isn't that what computers were supposed to be all about?

  • catering to the lowest common denominator, zombies.

    It's the way of all things in time.

    • "What's the deal with the Zika virus, anyway?"
    • "What exactly does cause dumpster fires?"
    • "Any good FAQs on autoerotic asphyxiation?"
    • "Is it true that I can fertilize my lawn with used motor oil?"
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @05:08PM (#52024669) Homepage

    I continue to be amazed at how high the "bandwidth" of a traditional, printed, paper highway map--such as those still provided by AAA, and frequently by the states themselves--compared to anything you can get electronically. Scrolling a six-inch screen is no substitute for a square meter of paper surface printed in high resolution... and with judicious human preselection of points of interest.

    For your typical 150-miles-to-a-specific-destination trips I continue to try to make do by printing out relevant Google maps, a small-scale one for the major highway routes to get there and a big one of the neighborhood. It never really works. The GPS and our car's NAV system will get you from point A to point B and show you in very good detail the local roads immediately surrounding your present position, but don't work very well for planning.

    Nor are electronic maps very good for sketching, highlighting, or carrying with you. And paper maps don't need to be recharged.

    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      Google was better for printing long ago, and is now better for being on the screen. Why are you printing? You have a desktop, and no other computing device?

      And paper maps don't need to be recharged.

      In the car, it's a real shame they don't have some power points so that you could plug in your personal electronics to the car's electrical system. Then you could use the phone/tablet/whatever without worrying about the battery and how much charging you need to do before/after the trip.

      • Why are you printing?

        Because humans are visual animals and process visual cues more quickly than verbal. It is much easier to have a printed map on 8.5" x 11" paper with your route highlighted than it is to try and concentrate on what some distant voice is telling you where to go.
        • You really shouldn't be using paper maps while driving anyway. Too much detail is too distracting.

          If your phone is telling you where to turn, it also has a screen showing a close-up and the orientation and distance to that turn. If you don't have a good place to mount that screen or a newer vehicle with Android Auto, you're missing something you can't get on paper.

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          So you aren't comparing printed maps to Google Maps, but printed maps to Google Navigation. Now that I understand your complaint, I can ignore it as irrelevant to the discussion.
  • by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @05:27PM (#52024765) Journal

    To this day Google maps does not allow you to rotate whatever you're looking at so it is aligned N-S. For example, if you look at Manhattan, NY, its gridlines are neatly arrayed. However, the island itself does not point N-S. It is slightly askew.

    There is no way (that I am aware of) to rotate the map so the gridlines run E-W and N-S so when you print out a close up view everything lines up neatly on the page. Instead, the picture runs off diagonally.

    Outside of rotating, when you drag the line for your trip to a different route it regularly ends up doubling back on itself. When you try to drag the offending part to match where you want to go, it may double back again.

    Sure, if you fiddle with it enough you can eventually get it to have one continuous line but generally it's faster to clear the entire page and start over.

    Google maps has gone downhill over the years. What used to be an easy way to map or view where you want to go has been reduced to the typical shiny so prevalent on the web. Forget ease of use, so long as it's shiny.

    • > There is no way (that I am aware of) to rotate the map so the gridlines run E-W and N-S so when you print out a close up view

      If that's REALLY important to you, you can download a jpeg file through the Google Maps API or capture a screen shot. Once you have an image file, you can rotate, crop, and print with Image Magick or any of a dozen similar programs.

  • by itsenrique ( 846636 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @06:19PM (#52025019)
    Here's my rendition: Modern mobile focused millennials use apps, not LUDDITE papyrus and squid ink boondoggles. Apps!
  • The critic reduces his cred by publishing his critique in a tiny, thin, illegible font.
  • How good are maps? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gussington ( 4512999 ) on Sunday May 01, 2016 @09:13PM (#52025699)
    I just came to say how awesome maps are. Not Google Maps, that is becoming more and more shit by day, but maps in general. Can you even imagine the old days when you couldn't get an accurate map anywhere? Imagine how hard that would've been?
    I travel a fair bit, and my first stop is always to grab a free local tourist map, it makes such a huge difference once you have even a high level layout of the land.
    Go maps!
  • The paper maps are used to get a general lay of the land and to determine what the route should be in case the GPS or Google Maps has erroneous information, AKA trying to route you over a summer mountain road in the dead of winter. Dedicated GPS because it only requires power work, if I am out exploring and intend to use the GPS only to get home or back to the hotel (great fun way to explore new areas), I don't need to have a data connection of remember to download maps before beginning my adventure and th

  • Even it's 'lite' mode is so bloated that you sit there for at least 10 seconds, maybe longer, waiting for it to finish doing everything it needs to do before it even lets you look anything up.
  • by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Monday May 02, 2016 @01:51AM (#52026357) Journal

    Good lord help me, Google god damned maps!
    I'll try my best to keep it short and sweet:

    The DUMBEST thing those idiots have done is remove the 50/50 split from the street view option. It's without a doubt, the most moronic @#$%ing thing they've done. It's incredibly frustrating.

    Luckily I have a screenshot of what I'm talking about.
    http://chattypics.com/files/5050split_sueprsqg9z.jpg [chattypics.com]

    You used to be able to do a 50/50 split, one of what you're looking at and 2 of where you "are" on the map what direction you are "facing". Any idiot with basic N.E.S.W directional skills, found this incredibly useful.
    We can still use street view and find what the building looks like that we're after, but it's much harder to identify where on the map it is, what direction it's facing, what the number is. We can do it, definitely, it's still down the bottom in the corner, VERY small - but the old system was incredibly easy to navigate in a combo street / maps view. I can't even put into words properly just how much superior the old version was, vastly is a big understatement.

    Perhaps you guys are sick of me but I'm personally getting frankly, fucking sick of typing shit up like this time and time again about applications, phones, websites, because idiots feel compelled to change things, not for the sake of improvement, but for the sake of change.

    It's times like this I WISH slashdot had a much larger audience, I WANT some piece of shit at Google to see this post and understand just how badly they fucked up. Yes, they did, fuck up, I'm sorry but there's no other way to put it.

    Tired of these changes, tired of things becoming worse for the sake of it.
    Google maps is literally an inferior product to what it was many YEARS ago.

    P.S Don't bother going back through the feedback system to these wallies, they have no idea. It's as bad as sending feedback to the Government at this point

    - Frustrated.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sir Holo ( 531007 )

      The DUMBEST thing those idiots have done is remove the 50/50 split from the street view option. It's without a doubt, the most moronic @#$%ing thing they've done. It's incredibly frustrating.

      Perhaps you guys are sick of me but I'm personally getting frankly, fucking sick of typing shit up like this time and time again about applications, phones, websites, because idiots feel compelled to change things, not for the sake of improvement, but for the sake of change.

      Yes. Yes. Yes.

      Google Maps is my resource of last resort when finding a route, or even a simple business location. For any given business or location, no matter how specific you are about its name or location, Google Maps will screw up their hours, phone number, address, or something else.

      They really need a disclaimer for users of the service.

      They also need to STOP appealing to users of the service to 'update' information for them. I don't work for you.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Monday May 02, 2016 @01:24PM (#52029581) Homepage

    Just want to say, reading a lot of good points from both sides of the argument in this discussion.

    1) Don't like WAZE; don't need advertisements, or gamification. I just want directions and traffic info. Google usually does that just fine. WAZE sucks my battery dry even when I'm not using it.
    2) Google maps UX is pretty stupid, most of the time. Used to be pretty obvious and functional, but now, with each new "upgrade", I end up doing a fair amount of clicking around to try to figure out what widgets do, and try to locate functionality that's been (apparently) deprecated. It is very frustrating and annoying, but much less so than Apple maps. The bar is low.

    3) A long time ago, I used to deliver pizza. I did that job for about 4 years. I can imagine that google maps can work far better than paper in some situations. But a paper map does something that you don't really ever get into when you're driving in an area frequently, over a period of time. Google doesn't let you LEARN the area. It keeps you on the main/shortest route, which is not always the best route. And you end up relying on Google to get you around. If your signal goes, or your battery goes, or for what other reason, it's not working, then you are fucked, because you don't remember the area. If you use a paper map to view the whole area, and find your route, then you actually begin to LEARN the layout. The layout of an area is important. You learn where there are rail lines, and creeks or rivers, or freeway underpasses, which are HUGE bottlenecks, and when you're improvising or navigating on the fly, you need to have that knowledge in your head, not on your phone. There are also tiny details that become VERY important; that don't show up on electronic maps. No-left-turn signs, center-dividers. When you're on a busy urban or suburban street, and you pull out somewhere, and find you can't go the direction you want, you can sometimes get fucked into having to travel several blocks in order to get turned around again. This can set you back 10, 15, 20 minutes, depending on the traffic and situation. Google does that to me CONSTANTLY; but when you LEARN an area, you know these details in your head, and you can avoid those situations. You'll still need your paper map from time to time, but you're not going to have to refer to it constantly, as you would with a GPS/online map. The other skill you miss out on, is self-location or orienteering. The phone does that for you. (unless there's a technical problem). But the skill for figuring that out by reckoning, visual landmark checks, etc - goes away if you do not use it. That's also very important for on-the-fly navigation. With an electronic device, you can end up with imperfect information, and lag, which will put you a few hundred feet away, which is another situation where you can miss an important turn, and end up having to backtrack or re-route (which, fortunately, google does for you).

    There is NO substitute for having an intimate knowledge of an area's quirks and foibles, which are not available even at the most detailed level for electronic maps.

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