Google Finally Says It Loud and Clear That Google Maps Has Ads

New square pin info on Google Maps 1 photo
Photo: Aaron Grote via Search Engine Roundtable
Google Maps remains the world’s number one navigation app, so the Mountain View-based tech giant is constantly looking into ways to improve the experience on all fronts, both on the phone and in the car.
Last year in the summer, Google introduced a new way for businesses to highlight their locations on the map, thus making it easier for users to find them.

The square pins showing up on Google Maps obviously took some people by surprise, especially because, in some cases, they made the UI overall a little bit more cluttered.

You can use Smart campaigns to display a prominent, square-shaped Google Maps pin with your business category logo, highlighting specific services that you offer, like curbside pickup or delivery. We’re bringing Promoted pins to Smart campaigns advertisers for free through the end of September,” Google said last June.

And while it’s pretty clear these are ads, something that nobody wants in their apps, Google has never referred to them this way, instead calling them simple “square pins” that showed up on Google Maps to highlight the location of nearby businesses.

Well, all of this changes this week, as Google has apparently acknowledged the square pins are actually ads, with a notification now showing up in the Android app to provide more information on their purpose.

Square pins are ads. Advertisers pay Google to promote these locations,” the notification displayed on Google Maps reads.

Of course, this doesn’t change anything as far as users are concerned, simply because you just can’t disable them on Google Maps. So no matter if you like them or not, the ads are here to stay, so we can only hope they wouldn’t become too intrusive in the coming updates.

For what it’s worth, the square pins are displayed on both Android and iPhone, and they should be live on every device out there since the last fall.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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