The new Google Maps is going live for all

Last May, Google unveiled a new version of Google Maps with many new features, including native support for Google Earth. The new version of Google Maps has been an optional upgrade for users, but now they’ve announced that the new version will be rolling out for all users in the coming weeks.

nyc maps

The updated maps that they’re rolling out now is very similar to what they unveiled last May, with a lot of minor improvements and tweaks. This video from last year gives a nice overview of what you can expect to see:

Now that all users are being moved to the new Maps, what do you think of it? It’s certainly a drastic change, but seems to be a change for the better. What are your thoughts?

About Mickey Mellen

Mickey has been using Google Earth since it was released in 2005, and has created a variety of geo-related sites including Google Earth Hacks. He runs a web design firm in Marietta, GA, where he lives with his wife and two kids.



Comments

  1. I just hope they upgrade the offline maps capability. The earlier versions of maps were able to store a larger area in greater detail. The new versions only store a small area – sometimes not even a whole city – and even then when you browse your offline map, there are several areas that have very poor detail when zoomed in :-(

    In a place like South Africa where data is expensive, the old versions of Gmaps were far more handy.

  2. Sheldon Huelin says:

    I like the new Google Maps, adds some of the functionality of Google Earth. I like the current keyboard shortcuts, does anyone know where all of them are listed?

  3. The “optional upgrade” to new Maps is only available to users who have or who open a Google Account. That has not been a requirement with previous versions of Maps, and there is no indication whether or not an account will be needed when the mew Maps is “rolled out” to desktops. Also, the “customising” of the new Maps will allow Google to harvest more data from individual users, and that is not everyone’s preference.

    The video – Google would do themselves a favour if they chose somewhere else than San Francisco and an application other than finding restaurants to promote new products – shows integration of GE features into Maps, but at one point for example in the beta version of new Maps the blue lines showing the coverage of Street View were removed – have they come back? And, in the longer term is all this pointing to the integration of GE and Maps as a single product, possibly with the loss of some special features of GE?

  4. I think these map updates suck. you could have gone an added the earth but left the other stuff that you could do on the old maps alone. I can not use them anymore for my husband and his oversize truck route permits.

  5. it seems to have quite a bit of potential, from a digital marketing point of view i’m excited to see what features this can offer my clients.

  6. Dont like the new google maps. Clunky interface, unintuitive, ugly.

  7. Bring back the old map! I do not want to log in to create a map – nor do I want you collecting data about me.

  8. What I’ve tested of the new Maps so far has left me somwhere between cold, and worse than cold. The design wastes a lot of screen estate in some areas. UI elements have been moved to absolutely non-intuitive places, so this is not going to be a smooth transition by any means. Quite a few of the info elements/layers seem to have been moved to corners of the system where I can’t find them, or have seemingly been removed completely from the product, which frankly makes the new Maps pretty much a useless wreck. I have found no use yet for the Google Earth-esque tilt view, actually I think Earth is the better place for something like that. So far I’d say this is (1) just fancy show-off gloss and (2) all driven by the desire to make it a “customized map” that tries to be smarter than the user in trying to anticipate needs (which is an inherently bad idea – it’s not going to make people find more, it’s going to make them find less) while in the background harvesting and profiling more and more personal data. I’m absolutely NOT thrilled about this.

    • Totally agree – it has no useful features for me and is much harder to read because the screen is more cluttered. To date, Google has been the cleanest, easiest to use map program – but now I’ll be looking to see if I can find something better.

    • Brad Harris says:

      The new product is far worse. I used to easily find a point on the map, click on the object for a dialogue box and “Search Nearby”. Much easier now….I can even find the “Search Near” option anymore and have to type it into the Search box. Pain in the ass. This version sucks.

  9. Also new 3D cities from different countries have been added recently:
    Vancouver, Las Vegas, Louisville, Raleigh, Columbia, Rochester, Lincoln, Omaha, Huesca, Rouen, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Meridia, Kankakee, Bloomington, Lafayette, Reggio Calabria,
    Ferrara, Lucca, Luxembourg, Fryburg – Switzerland, Fort Wayne, Szombathely – Hungary,
    Perugia, Saint-Étienne, Pisa, Buenos Aires, La Plata, Mar Del Plata,
    and people are finding new almost every day. Full list is available on Wikipedia: “Google Earth 3D buildings”

  10. Hay nuevas imágenes satelitales pero que no son de Digital Globe, son de una empesa fransesa llamada CNES / Atrrium. Un ejemplo es aquí: 8° 5’38.45″N 62°25’34.13″W

    There are newer satellite imagery but are not of Digital Globe, is a company called CNES / Atrium. An example is here: 8° 5’38.45″N 62°25’34.13″W

  11. I’m very unhappy with the new Maps version. I seemed to be forced now to use the Google Earth views with no more option to see a simple aerial view, without all the 3Dish stuff. I love Earth, but when I use maps I need a clean, realistic, interface. If I want Earth, I’ll use Earth.

    • Couldn’t agree more! I had no use for Earth before at all, but I used Satellite view all the time. As soon as I open up Google Maps now I go straight to Switch back to the old maps. The new one is also hideously slow – yet my PC is quite new and reasonably powerful, nothing else on it runs this slow! And the way Directions works on the old maps is SOOOOOOO much better.

  12. Boa Nonaka says:

    Hi Mickey,

    Thanks for asking us for our thoughts. I hope you read this ^ ^

    I agree with a few of the points Markus made, not all though.

    I tried out “New Maps” when it was available to users only via a request.
    I like the interface; shows you more of the map and less white-space.

    But, I soon switched back to “Old Maps” because of the following:-

    Here in Richmond BC, you can click on a bus stop (in old-maps) and it gives you the “Stop ID” and a “more info” clickable link.

    Stop ID’s are very useful when you don’t have data.

    You can jot down the stop-ID, of a place you’re interested in, prior to visiting/planning a journey, and later if you happen to not have data you can get the bus schedule for that stop by texting that number.

    That is the primary reason why I use GM.

    I’ve been trying to find stop-ID’s in New-Maps with no success… :(

    New-Maps also does not exploit the power of right-clicking.
    I know that 2x leftClick = zoom in, and 2x rightClick = zoom out, but that’s redundant because of the mouse wheel.

    I’m hoping Stop-ID’s are still there in New maps and I just haven’t found them (very unlikely, I’ve looked quite hard), ’cause I really liked the clean UI.

    If they’re not there then hopefully they will be brought back. That’s some very useful data, shouldn’t be left out.

    If not, then hopefully Old-maps will still be there.

    Cheers!

  13. I primarily use it for printing directions to a job. The new version has removed almost all of the options to customize how much information is shown. You cannot choose to hide the small maps and only show the large one with the text. There is basically an all or nothing option. I need the in between.

  14. Not sure I understand some changes after using the new maps for a few months. I’ve upgrade to the paid MapsPro, but it’s not much different than standard. I’m not just change-griping, the maps look nicer, 3D tilt and parallax is awesome.

    But some of the maps functionality really decreased. I find the need to revert to old maps several times per week. Here’s why:

    -I really miss the measuring stick that I kept on the bottom corner of the old maps for a quick distance check.

    -Layer control is missing. Sometimes I want to see the map without any labels, sometimes I want to see terrain and that’s just gone.

    -I didn’t ask for the photos. I constantly have to minimize the explore local box at the bottom, and I don’t ever need those pictures anyways.

    -The scale is hard to use.. In old maps I drag the map feature over to the transparent scale to check distance, but the new version obscures the map with the text and boxes near the scale.

    Custom Maps
    -For some reason, if I drop a marker, the description box that pops up is always an inferior quality graphic, like an over-enlarged blur.

    -The old maps custom maps allowed to trace a line along a road. The new version doesn’t allow that. Hopefully the trace path along road will soon return because it was a stellar feature.

  15. I use Google Maps on a daily basis at work. I’m also an avid motorcyclist. I’ll be brief,,, not liking it, what so ever. My main complaint, with the old google map, the ease of scrolling your mouse back to get back to the main map was wonderful,, you now have to lose the spot on the road surface and search for it again. When you are on the road surface, you can no longer grab the little man in the map surface and move him along the road. When looking for great motorcycle roads, you look for bends and twists in the road,, it would be great if you would be able to have the flexiblility to grab the man and move the man on the map again… why is it when you have a good thing going, you can’t just leave it alone. I now wish that I didn’t have a google email account so I wouldn’t have been upgraded..

  16. How do we add a link for a location in google maps? We’ve tried but it isn’t working plus it is taking us to a different town than what we put in!!

  17. Roger Thompson says:

    I really just wanted a map. I’ll go look for one elsewhere.

  18. New imagery in Google Earth for Mumbai, India

  19. No full screen in Street View.

  20. Print is totally non functional. ctrl P does not work. There appears to be no way to print at all. How useless is that?

  21. UGH. Names of towns are not nearly as well displayed as they were before, or are not displayed at all — especially when a query is used. Example. I go to Grand Gorge NY then enter restaurant. Several restaurants are displayed. I zoom out and see many more restaurants in a 10 or 20 mile radius. PROBLEM — the names of those surrounding towns are not shown! Whereas they were in the past. Town names that used to be displayed at a glance I now have to zoom in to hunt for. Horrible for planning a road trip!!!!! There are some good features but you really need to revisit how town names are displayed cuz it sucks!

    • Yes, this is definitely an annoying issue! Been playing around with it for a half hour and if you hunt for “restaurant” in a given town and zoom out, then the names of surrounding muncipalities disappear. Dreadful. Another example: Restaurants in Blacksburg VA. Zoom out. I see a town to the north about 30 miles as the crow flies is packed with restaurants… but what town is it? The name is not displayed! In fact, it’s Lewisburg. Bing, Yahoo and Mapquest all showed me that no problem. Couldn’t find the name in the new Google Maps unless I cleared the “restaurant” query. Thumbs down.

  22. the 45 degree imagery is missing in some places

  23. Looks like 100% thumbs down from users who want a fully featured map, with some very worrying comments for those of us in parts of the world yet to get the dubious ‘benefits’ of new Maps. But what we have to realise is that Maps is becoming a dumbed down data, and hence money, harvesting enterprise for users with mobile devices who can’t be bothered to think for themselves, or that’s how Google seem to see them.

    And, as I commented above (second in thread) “is all this pointing to the integration of GE and Maps as a single product, possibly [now probably] with the loss of some special features of GE?”

    I am sure by coincidence, Frank Taylor has written an excellent must read GEB post on this theme today, 25 February. Do respond to his invitation to comment, and hopefully Google will realise that there are intelligent users out here who can actually promote use of an intelligent product.

  24. This is BAD BAD BAD.

    I don’t know how to get directions from Point A to Point B anymore. It used to be, you enter a starting point and a destination and then click Get Directions. Now I can’t figure out how to do that. I only have one box – a destination. No starting point.

  25. Restoring classic Maps

    The Google Operating System(unofficial) blog writes “Classic Google Maps is still available: you can switch by clicking the “?” icon at the bottom of the page and selecting “Return to classic Google Maps”. You’ll see this message: “You have switched back to classic Google Maps for this session. Remember this choice for next time?”. Click “Yes” to always go to the old interface when visiting Google Maps.”

    As new Naps has not been rolled out yet in the UK, I can’t try this. But GEB readers who are fed up with new Maps could try it and report here.

  26. Dale Birmingham says:

    What the hell happened to Google maps. It down right just plain sucks. The old map was perfect. I could travel my routes and look up places. Now it is intrusive and can’t read a damn thing or see my routes. How do I get the old map back. Google, even your directions map sucks big time!

  27. I was looking at the maps and I love all the functions and everything but the one thing I hate is the imagery is from 2007 that’s seven plus years a lot of things could change. Is there any chance you will be updating them in the near future? I would love to see updated imagery. Thank You

  28. As I see it the new version of Google Map is a problem for those of us who build custom maps that are placed on social networking sites. Google responded to my feedback by placing a link to the old version in My Places, and now provide a way to update a limit of only five old custom maps into the new Google Map. I thank them for the effort they made to accommodate me, but in my case a limit of five is not enough to move all 150 maps to the new version. And if I did not save the old version as a favorite in my browser, getting back to My Maps would be difficult when the default is to launch the new version.

    What Google did not do is give us a choice when Google Map launches of whether today we want to use the Classic Map or the new social network version and use the other version tomorrow. Both have advantages depending on what your expectations are at the moment. From my experience at creating over 150 Google Maps of historic and scientific events for my site MyReadingMapped, I find the new version’s text editing and linking capabilities very limiting even with it’s new capabilities.

    The new version of Google Map is beneficial depending on who you are and what you expect from it. It appears to me that the new version is set up as a social networking tool and reflects Google search’s algorithm change that places listings of social networking as the default first search they provide. Which appears to be about 20 pages worth of listings. While leaving the old list of 100 or more pages to the “Omitted” link on the last page of the first search. I suspect this move cuts down on the work Google’s servers perform. In other words, the first search lists other sites that linked to my site, or discussions involving my site, while the second search lists all the indexed pages on my site along with any other listings. In my case the first search involves 18 pages of Google+, map.Google.com listings and referrals from Pinterest, Facebook and media articles I commented on. While the second search involves 84 pages of indexed pages and social networking listings from the first search.

    I suspect in the long run that Google Earth and Google Map will be merged into Google+ as the social networking and mobile features of the new version of Google Map are used more often.

    My preference would be to include the features of the old version in the new version and make all of us happy.

  29. So I suddenly find myself forced into using this new improved version of google maps. The new version is absolutely insane, I cannot even navigate a location with the little pegman to see what is in the area, without literally being turned upsidedown. Why change something that worked so well for something so unintuitive? I shall not be relying on it in the future, and will go elsewhere to other map interactive sites I’ve used in the past. We have so much we are constantly needing to re-learn with all these perpetual software upgrades, I understand the positive of adding new features and all that, but drastically changing the interface is just downright stupid. Most of us don’t have the time or patience to sit down and figure it out.

  30. David H. says:

    I am a long-time fan of Google Maps and am always open to the new features Google brings. I’m puzzled by the *removal* of helpful features. For example (and this might be particular to the mobile version), when using Google Maps to get directions, the route used to be marked by a blue dot at each point along the route where a turn, exit, or other decision was required. While driving, you could tap on a blue dot to quickly go from “map view” to that particular exit name/number in the written directions. Now those blue dots don’t appear and you have to switch to written directions and carefully read through them in order to find the name of a particular exit or street, which is now far more difficult and dangerous to do while driving. Does anyone know if there is a way to turn the blue dot feature back on? THANKS!

  31. I’m sure google will bring old maps back. They can’t be that stupid to keep the new ones when 99% don’t like it and can’t get used to it.

    I hope they will make the right decision ASAP

  32. Classic Google Maps is better. You can permanently enable it with this extension.

  33. I hate it – I tried to look up restaurants in a city and instead of a listing down the side I get a map with a bunch of little knives and forks all over it and no information. It may work purely as a street map but as a source of information it is useless.

  34. I liked the old Google Maps better. The new one is noticeably slower and clunky. I liked the way the old maps showed a red teardrop shape for the nearest main locality, but if you entered a GPS co-ordinates it would then show a green arrow at the specific position. The new version only seems to show a red teardrop and a vague dot at the specific location, and the dot disappears as soon as you stop hovering your mouse over it. Really the only thing I didn’t like about the old version was that after you entered a GPS location and hit enter, you still had to refresh your browser in order to obtain the green arrow showing the specific point. If they had found a way to obtain the green arrow without the need to refresh the browser, that was really the only improvement needed.

  35. I’m speechless, really. Speechless.
    The new google maps it’s not awful, it’s worse. I had to use it a lot the last year, my favourite view was half of the screen on street view, half on the map. It was PEFECT. Now I have to switch back and forth, and that horrible minimap on the bottom left can’t even show me the route I selected, can’t move, can’t zoom in or out.
    Not to mention it’s like five times slower to load, and the interface it’s just bad.
    Are the people behind this s**t on drugs? Really, I’m serious.
    I’ll search for another service and use google maps only for the street view, it’s totally useless right now.

  36. globbitz says:

    as usuu

    as usual, no choice is given as to whether you want the new version or not
    i find myself using bing maps now as i do not wish to learn what all the symbols and keyboard shortcuts do
    how about giving people the choice of either committing to the new version or if they would prefer to just casually use a fast and simpler previous version. previously this choice was there – if you want complex and slow you can use google earth, if you just want quick map info then dont. but now you have no choice, just like a dictatorship

    i think its a classic case of staff justifying their wages. they didnt need to change it but they convinced their boss they needed to

    • Disgruntled User says:

      It’s a typical case of an internal department having to produce “continuous improvement” in order to justify their existence. This has middle-managers protecting their budgets all over it. So what if the users don’t like it? They don’t allocate the money. So what if the “features” are counter-intuitive, or even damgerous to use in the real world?

      I’m holding my nose and making Bing my default.

  37. i love google maps I can see my house

  38. I Dont like the new google maps. Clunky interface, unintuitive, too resource intensive. Less easy to use than the old version. I will be looking around to switch to some other mapping product

  39. what aku orang indonesia

  40. its crap for uk.
    Motorways are blue not orange/yellow
    its like a kids been left to fill it in in macdonalds.

  41. Ted Striker says:

    I hate it, I hate it, I hate it! It’s time for Google to admit defeat and accept the new Google maps is a dismal failure. Put it in the scrap heap where it belongs! Instead improve the classic google maps, like getting the photo blue dots to work again, which is now broken. They show up but stick man can’t be dropped on them to see the view. Just remember the old adage, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

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