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Google Maps 2013 - Personalisation & First Impressions

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly



Google Maps 2013 - Personalisation

But even the smartest discovery system becomes a fairly tiresome task if it has to be repeated endlessly. Which is why Google is emphasising the last of the major upgrades to its new Maps: learning. Instantly this will cause privacy concerns, but the theory is when you are logged into Google services and use Google Maps it will learn your preferences.

As such, regularly searched for places become ‘landmarks’ on your map and London is laid out for you by your favourite places, making new searches easier to put into geographical context. In this way, everyone’s map will be different, just like the one below.

Google Maps personalised

In addition, the more you use Maps the more it learns. Search for a town or city and Maps will highlight things you might enjoy based on your past likes and dislikes before you even start a formal search. Scary yes, but also potentially brilliant.

So,what is Google going to do with all this data? As Google I/O 2013 demonstrated: it is going to integrate tightly into other core services.

As such your reviews become part of Google Plus, search histories are integrated into Google Now to predict behavioural patterns, and Google Search will take into account your Map information. This adds convenience (you can search for restaurants in an area based solely on Google Plus friends’ recommendations), but also control.

Looking at the future, surely the ability to book tables and check-in will soon follow to give Google another weapon to attack the competition?

Google Maps 2013 - Problems

Despite all this the Google Maps 2013 does have its flaws. Aside from the ones already mentioned, load times are notably slower than the current version. This could well be because we are using a beta product, but given Chrome and Gmail have also become more sluggish in recent times we hope Google isn’t sacrificing its famous focus on speed in favour of bloat.

Google Maps place pages

It would also be nice to be able to move the search bar from its locked position in the top left corner of the screen, and there are surprisingly no ways to share places directly from the map without going to a dedicated page (above) for that place. This will surely change. In fact, for all its focus on putting everything on the map itself, the new Google Maps still has a tendency to drag you off to a separate page or even browser tab when you want more information.

Elsewhere print and link options to your exact view of the map are missing at the time of publication.

First Impressions

We may be previewing a beta product and privacy questions will be raised, but the new Google Maps is undoubtedly a huge step up from what was already the best mapping service available.

It has also made us crave the new mobile versions of Google Maps, as we have fast become reliant on features unavailable to us on the move. We might face a wait, though, as Google has yet to indicate when the new desktop and mobile Google Maps will roll out for everyone. Until then we advise you request an invite.

For us Google Maps is now comfortably the company’s best product and it is hard to see how competitors who were already significantly behind can hope to catch up. The exciting bit is there is now huge pressure for them to try…

Next, read why Apple should fear the new, ruthless Google

Paulo Pascoal

June 3, 2013, 11:52 am

When you type geographic coordinates the new map don't show the exact location, just one random point in the nearest street (in the old one you also had that but when you clicked a 2nd time you got a arrow with the real location). That functionality is very important for me and as such I reverted to the old version. Hope they fix it.
Also, in the old maps when picking the Pegman I could see immediately the areas where street view was available, now that's gone too...

Рон Джамин

February 21, 2014, 5:31 pm

This new map is terrible. Can't figure out how to use it. Google is screwing with too much. They ruined Youtube with their strong-arm force to make you use Google+. Frankly, I've been using Bing maps more often. Better aerial shots too.

Graham Steel

February 21, 2014, 9:58 pm

I use Google Maps all the time at work, and have found more disappointments than improvements with the new version. It is difficult to get a Google Street View of a precisely selected location. The old version allowed a split screen with Street View above and a Google Map showing Pegman at the current location below. Most disappointingly, the right-click menu has gone - I used "what's here" a lot, which showed the coordinates of the required map location - I notice that BIng Maps now does this rather well! I hope that Google restore these missing features.

Sean Reeves

February 25, 2014, 7:53 am

Why fix something that was not broken. It was great before now it slow, doesn't go where you want it, really jerky. Its Crap.


March 11, 2014, 9:44 pm

What a waste!!! Nothing intuitive about it. It fades away. I can't move the map around. I'll go back to Yahoo.

Creagh Warren

March 12, 2014, 3:54 am

Unfortunately Google has traded speed for bloat - I hate the new version. Google are losing the plot, trying too hard to be feature rich and forgetting the usability and, of course, privacy, as we are seeing from the numerous legal actions against Google all around the world. They have lost sight of their users and focus only on their bank account.


March 15, 2014, 7:10 pm

The new version is terrible. I expect as with anything some adjustment when you need to get used to a new interface, but the performance is so bad, it's not worth using. I'm looking for any other decent map options I can find until this changes. Using mapquest as often as I can, and looking for more.


March 20, 2014, 5:49 pm

Messy, nausea inspiring, too much junk on the screen which you can't remove, and worse, while on google streets, as you turn, the images are distorted and stretched and it jumps all over the place and down side streets. Look at the cars on the street, they're all stretched out and store fronts are like a reverse fisheye lens. Terrible. Streets used to be so good, it was like standing in the scene, now it makes you feel sick.


March 21, 2014, 8:53 am

I absolutely hate the new version and I won't be using it any more, it's really difficult to use, especially the direction options. Also the streetview is distorted, part of the reason I used it in the past is to help me get a feel for a place I'm due to visit, because I can suffer panic attacks when I'm in a strange place, but you can't even look up to see what a building looks like with this version. Also you don't seem to have the option to click on a bus stop in order to find out about bus services anymore, obviously we all have to be driving now. The thumbnail images along the bottom of the screen are just annoying. It was fine before, why change it. Google seems to be intent on ruining the internet experience for everyone, first the ads popping up everywhere, now this. Let's hope others take full advantage of google's falling standards and lack of concern for the user to offer us some better options for everything that google once did well.

banditste600 .

March 28, 2014, 8:54 am

What was wrong with just a map that can give you the option to use street view to see where about you are and an info bar on the side that says the mileage to travel in total, the roads you will be using, even the estimated fuel usage was very handy!!!

Google has done EXACTLY the same as modern car manufacturers!!!
Your trying to make something so advanced that you don't have the correct technology for... so it has become unreliable!

we want something that looks good and works!
NOT what you have done here!!!



March 29, 2014, 10:30 am

The new google maps is rubbish if i cant stay with the older version i will use something else the new one is unusable and there is also no print option the person who decided to alter google maps should be sacked


April 7, 2014, 10:26 pm

The "my maps" with new version is HORRIBLE compared to old version. Author obviously did not spend any time with the new maps and fell for the "eye candy".

jennifer leslie

April 17, 2014, 6:45 am

Just awful! It annoys & frustrates me. Bring back the old one. Designed by a showoff not an end user & as a result no-one can use it. Wake up & smell the coffee Google!


April 17, 2014, 1:54 pm

Doesn't work for me on linux and firefox 28.0.

The question mark and settings on the bottom doesn't select.

I have disabled ALL my addons and rebooted.

Its useless to me.

Typical...break working software.

I guess they learned it from the masters...Microsoft.


April 21, 2014, 7:16 pm

I use Bing maps because Google Maps is so slow.

Jennifer Harkins

April 29, 2014, 5:55 pm

Why have so many roads with blue lines which were available in old street view no longer available. really disappointing and frustrating.


May 15, 2014, 12:28 am

+I thought maybe it was me...Google maps is terrible...what in the world have you done....I hate it...its all over the place...back to mapquest....the onw question is "Why?"


May 25, 2014, 10:00 pm

Please change back to old version Google Maps or I will go to Bing!!!

The Duck

June 15, 2014, 2:59 pm

Go back to the old version NOW!! The new one is not good in any way just annoying. I used to love Google Maps but not any more.


June 21, 2014, 9:50 am

This is worse than the new coca cola formula. This piece of crap is absolutely horrible. Flashearth.com is a hell of a lot better. Bing maps is also better. what the heck were they thinking when they designed this slow, nonintuative crap filled monster?


June 26, 2014, 3:56 am

It takes a cluster of super computers to run it!!!!!!!!!!! Beyond ridiculous! Hey, lets take a completely excellent product and rebuild it! Thats American.. "INNOVATION" for you! If your not changing things even for the worse, your not innovating!

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