back to article Google gives Maps a lick of paint, smears it over screens worldwide

Google is preparing to complete the rollout of its redesigned online Maps service. The refreshed satnav-like site was debuted by the web king at its developer conference in May last year, and since then has been shown to some users around the world. "Thanks to your helpful feedback, we're ready to make the new Maps even more …

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As usual

It's even more shit. A long time ago, it would start off with the area around what I defined as home, so I could go straight to searching for things. Then it moved to showing the entire county, so I had to spend a little time zooming on.

Now it shows literally the entire goddamned state, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Cuba, and some of the Yucatan peninsula, and the area I'm interested in is about 5 pixels wide.

Useless shitheads.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As usual

Also, more ads, more cost as it slurps up my data allowance with irrelevance.

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Still better

Than Apple Maps!

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Re: As usual

It's probably a sign of getting older, but so many of these sites/apps/services/whatever like Google Maps I used to be able to use without a problem. But every time they get updated, I seem to find them less and less intuitive to use. Ease of use seems to take a back seat to swept-up minimalist design.

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Re: As usual

Maybe it's a sign of age, or maybe it's just the way the brain works. The more time you spend using a tool the more you get used to it and its use becomes intuitive. When it changes you have to reeducate yourself to the changes. This is probably harder than educating yourself to an entirely new tool because not only do you have to learn something new, you have to unlearn something which has become second nature. Ever moved from a car with the indicators on one side of the wheel to the other? How hard was it to avoid turning the wipers on instead of indicating? How hard to avoid flashing your headlights when you intended to wash your windscreen?

The thing is that once the new techniques become second nature you forget how long that process took and therefore get annoyed the next time you have to go through that process.

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Re: As usual

"Now it shows literally the entire goddamned state, as well as Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Cuba, and some of the Yucatan peninsula, and the area I'm interested in is about 5 pixels wide."

Firstly you must be using it wrong. Still zooms in on my locale on every start.

Secondly if you weren't quite such an agressive ranter people might sympathize.

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Re: Still better

Agreed,, in comparison Apple Maps still leave much to be desired, but Cupertino have the advantage that they don't rely on ad income and offer software to sell hardware.

If Google over egg things in the ad space, there will come a tipping point at which G Maps become too much of a faf to use given the layering of ads.

Not there yet granted, but things seem to be starting to go the same way as all that "value add" bloatware on windows PCs.

It's a delicate balancing act for them.

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WTF wants sympathy when you are upset?

If we want to effing well rant we will effing well rant.

This is a British magazine.

Get over it.

Oh...

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Re: As usual

"Ever moved from a car with the indicators on one side of the wheel to the other? How hard was it to avoid turning the wipers on instead of indicating? How hard to avoid flashing your headlights when you intended to wash your windscreen?"

I'll disagree here, although not enough to downvote you. In my 30+ years of owning cars, there's always been a dedicated control for each function. Until, that is, I got a recent-ish Audi, with its wanky MMI (Multi-media interface). In their attempt to minimise the number of controls, there is now a multi-function knob, a display panel and a number of soft-keys. Digging though menus to access various functions is all fine while sitting at a stationary desk, but trying to do that while driving is really dangerous; it takes far too much concentration.

So, I get get sick to the tits of having my music constantly interrupted by traffic bulletins, but it is now too much of a distraction to my driving to turn it off. Also, I'd probably forget to turn it back on and end up in a six-day holdup on the M4.

On the previous cars, it would have been a single button-press; quick convenient and safe.

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Happy

They have expanded the 3D maps too

Now most big cities are covered. I can waste a frightening amount of time flying around London.

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Windows

TGF Nokia Maps

There may be a long list of bad things about WP8, but the maps are great. No adverts and the navigation does better than my Tom Tom (the one that tries to make me turn off the motorway into an emergency access road just north of Peterborough).

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Re: TGF Nokia Maps

This is exactly the sort of thing that made me take the plunge and move to WP8 from Android. They were constantly changing the product; often removing features but making it slower (how?); and bringing no noticable benefit to the actual user experience.

I was worried about leaving the known but to be honest I've not looked back. Google need to knock their heads together and get back on track bringing out innovative products - not just dumbing down their existing ones.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TGF Nokia Maps

Making only a slight comment as to whether Android is getting slower/losing features (it's not something I've noticed on my phone) but If you aren't expecting Microsoft to do exactly that to an operating system they're in charge of you are no student of history.

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Re: TGF Nokia Maps

My wife has an over 2 year old Lumia 800 (wp7.8.something) and despite it's multiple updates it is still a quick and snappy on hardware that I would have (and probably did) laugh at, at the time. To open youtube on my ex Sammy Gal S2 takes around 30 seconds. Hell, even my ex, ex, SE Satio opens faster than that. Vista was a dog when it was released, and improved significantly according to most commentards with SP1 - so it is who exactly who has not been studying their history?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TGF Nokia Maps

"I was worried about leaving the known but to be honest I've not looked back. Google need to knock their heads together and get back on track bringing out innovative products - not just dumbing down their existing ones."

Google don't do innovative, they do "how do we sell more advertising"

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"navigate uncharted territory"

Nice - I thought they left exploring to others?

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Anonymous Coward

They have made a couple of recent changes that make no sense, like removing ETA on preview mode (where it shows the whole journey) and getting rid of traffic info when zoomed it.

But on the whole its still the best free sat nav option out there for people with a mobile data connection.

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Anonymous Coward

(cough)

Here.com?

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A taste of things to come?

Turn left at Joe's Restaurant, ask for the Chef's special where you get a discount. Continue straight at the next intersection, but don't pass up Zingo's Gas, best fuel prices in the area. Whoops, you've made a wrong turn, but all is not lost, while you're turning around, stop at the nearby Annie's Antiques, where you're sure to find that something for the living room. Before you hit that mute button, you don't want to hurt your fingers - Gary's Gloves is just up the road to help you with all your hand protection needs. I understand you're utterly completely pissed at this stage, but before you throw your phone out the window, take the next right and visit Graham at the HealthRight Pharmacy - he's guaranteed to have Xanax in stock.

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Re: A taste of things to come?

But that's exactly how we navigate - by using landmarks.

Us Brits are buggered when we run out of pubs, though.

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Re: A taste of things to come?

I have an uncle who used to be a funeral director, he uses churches as reference points for directions, it's *really* weird the first time you encounter it.

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Big meh here...

Bing has O/S maps, 1:50000, 1:25000, which I was brought up to read and understand, so I tend to only use google if I need street level views in an area that hasn't had StreetSlide.

I wish it was possible on Bing's overhead views to switch off the Road line layer, it's very distracting.

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Re: Big meh here...

If you've learned to map read then different maps shouldn't present any problems to you.

I wouldn't use a geological O/S map to look for footpaths.

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Re: Big meh here...

Why not? They show surface features, paths and tracks as well - or at least, the ones I have do. I use them when I go fossiling. I wish I could attach a screeny.

And as has been pointed out elsewhere, Google don't use standard colouring for their maps - I can read them, but it's far, far easier to use another source that has stuck to conventions and has a history of being definitive.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Big meh here...

Don't worry Google will see Bing off, I predict privatisation of O/S probably very soon after the next election, Google will buy at any price and its to irresistible for Gov UK not to swallow the quick cash.

Another family jewel will be gone..

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Re: Big meh here...

Aerial -> Untick "show labels"...

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Boffin

Freetards

To all of those whinging about the new changes and the adverts....get a grip. This is a free service. Do you have any idea how much it costs to source, manage and serve the mapping data, to develop and distribute the app, etc.?

I'm not a Google apologist, just a realist. If I pay for something, and the person I'm paying then screws around with what I've paid for, then I can complain. But if someone gives me something for free, at expense to them, I'm not really in a position to claim that I'm hard done by if they change it in a way I don't like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Freetards

This is a free service

No it isn't. You pay with information. You pay with wasted time and resources such as bandwidth and computing power for downloading and displaying annoying ads. So it's not free. "Free" would just be the maps and nothing else, so "free" is a lie, a well propagated myth.

However, having said that, as long as you're AWARE of the price you can make a choice, and for many taking this small hit is good enough.

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Re: Freetards

But it's not really at any expense to them - they make a profit from the adverts (4bn in the last quarter), which we pay for as part of the cost of all products we buy, so we aren't freeloading.

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Re: Freetards

"However, having said that, as long as you're AWARE of the price you can make a choice, and for many taking this small hit is good enough."

As is visiting El Reg which also runs adverts

(no, it's not any different - you cant pick and chose, those that do are not exactly being honest with themselves)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Freetards

As is visiting El Reg which also runs adverts

Yup. And I have El Reg usually excluded from Adblock so I even see them. Not always (if it gets too garish, like the coloured page surrounds right now), but most of the time. That's a choice I make.

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Re: Freetards

Paying in bandwidth and computing power? You are aware that you "pay" this for any internet based mapping solution whether it is "free" at the point of use or not? I can't imagine that even if I just used google maps all day every day that the cost of bandwidth for adds would ever add up to a measurable amount.

I'm not disputing that the cost for almost all of googles services is your information and eyeballs infront of adds just that in any way that Google adds which aren't animated flash horrors add in any appreciable way to the cost of your bandwidth.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Freetards

I've just used maps now, just to make sure, postcode 1, look around, check some stuff, postcode 2, directions between, show me a street view, dah, dah, dah. The things I imagine 90% of people use the thing for from their desk.

Not a single ad. Not one. Some handy things on restaurants, showing me the website, a list of reviews, a little piccy, etc. All useful info. No "ads", no "you've searched for Muswell Hill please visit hummus.com"

What wasted bandwidth of yours are these imaginary ads wasting?

Or are we talking about the new "Maps", which presumably neither you nor I have seen the finished version of so we can't really make judgments. Although looking at screenshots linked in the article I'd be amazed if any ads that do turn up are 1-billionth as annoying as the ones that appear on this site.

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Re: Freetards

As far as I know, https://www.openstreetmap.org doesn't have ads.

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I remember the last time

They changed the UK motorways from blue (standard colour code on UK maps) to orange. They also messed up my ability to store offline maps on my device, so I had to have a data connection to even see a map. I very much doubt that they will improve it in any way.

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Re: I remember the last time

You can still store offline maps, but it's harder to get to. Deselect something on the map, click on search bar, when it expands scroll to the bottom, and it'll have the "Cache map offline" option thingy.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I remember the last time

And A-roads are a slightly different yellowy-orange, rather than green.

Here.com have a purply colour for the M roads and a more washed out one for the dual A-roads

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Road Colours Still Wrong

They still have not fixed the road colours - blue for motorways and green for primary routes. I will continue to use Bing for route planning and Google only for street view.

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Re: Road Colours Still Wrong

There are no "right" road colours (in reality they tend to be grey) so how can there be wrong road colours?

You may as well complain that route planning map books don't have the same road colours as OS landranger maps. Or have you ever noticed that different brand satnavs don't all have the same road colouring schemes. None of them are right or wrong, just different.

As long as you know what the scheme is it shouldn't be a problem.

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Re: Road Colours Still Wrong

> There are no "right" road colours (in reality they tend to be grey) so how can there be wrong road colours?

True, but you could make the same argument about traffic lights too. By custom and practice we've come to expect that red means stop and green means go.

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Re: Road Colours Still Wrong

"True, but you could make the same argument about traffic lights too. By custom and practice we've come to expect that red means stop and green means go."

Look up the Vienna Convention which sets international conventions for road signs and traffic lights

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Road Colours Still Wrong

The trouble is that some major A roads are now the same colour as B roads and minor roads. It's useless for route planning.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Road Colours Still Wrong

They still have not fixed the road colours - blue for motorways and green for primary routes

The next batch of Google Streetview vehicles will paint the roads according to Google's choice, so just give it time.

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Memory hog

At home I have a system that's light on RAM and boy does the new Maps try to use all of it! But that seems to be relentless with the web in general nowadays :(

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Rejoice at that news

To be positive for a sec, and to generalize (apologies for that), online mapping is amazingly cool. Example : I've recently got rid of my eldest child (nothing illegal, she's just living away to study). With the help of on line mapping, we were able to find and navigate to her new digs, with streetview show her pictures of her new house and the local area to reassure her it wasn't a shithole, find local shops, takeaways,doctors she might like to use, find bus stops, directions and walking timings to the tube stations etc etc. When I went to university, I had to buy an a-z and find everything on my own. They seriously don't know they are born these days. Sometimes I think people should do less moaning about what colour the roads are on a map, and more rejoicing at how cool they are.

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Pint

Re: Rejoice at that news

^^^ beer for this ^^^^

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Re: Rejoice at that news

You raise a very good point; and I think that's why people think that Google Maps is going down-hill.

When they first debuted, GMaps was awesome, a one-of-a-kind phenomenon (for those that didn't know about KeyHole, the company that Google bought the maps from). It could have been little better than crayon scribbles and we would have loved it (I think that may have been the case, actually). Each iteration has removed us from the sense of wonder at the awesomeness, and made it more commonplace; what was mind-blowing has become mundane. As the Maps have matured, the room for improvement has shrunk and each update has been less impressive.

So pause, look at the application from your perspective of a few years back, and then mourn the loss of your sense of wonder.

And then resume pillorying Google for ruining the maps, because they have.

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Re: Rejoice at that news

"When they first debuted, GMaps was awesome, a one-of-a-kind phenomenon "

Was it? Did multimap.com (since bought out by MS for Bingmaps) not come first?

I certainly used to use multimap to plan routes and print map sections for end-of-journey details/reference before I'd heard of or at least used, Google maps.

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I'm seriously unimpressed with the new Google maps update - apparently streetview (when you can get to it) is just a sequence of black images.

Tested on both Google and ie

I'm guessing something is getting filtered or it's relying on an app we don't have on the PCs here.

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Missing stuff just for me?

Is it just me or is search nearby not available on the new maps? I used to put in a place (or postcode) then click on the pin, hit search nearby and type something generic (like "restaurants") and get a nice list of near by restaurants. This very useful option seems to have gone.

In addition, I've seen plenty of people who talk about how it's integrated with Google Contacts but every single time I try to type a name, it tries to find a road of that name, rather than suggesting the home or work addresses of someone in my address book.

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