Huge Google Maps Annoyance on Android Auto Finally Gets a Fix

The new Google Maps behavior without navigation enabled 16 photos
Photo: reddit user DaiaBu with autoevolution edits
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Google Maps might be the world's number one mobile navigation app, also dominating the Android Auto space, but it doesn’t mean it's a flawless piece of software.
Users occasionally discover problems in Google Maps, and one of the oldest, most widespread, and often most infuriating concerns the way the application centers the map.

When you enable navigation in Google Maps on Android Auto, the application automatically moves the map to the left, so your location is no longer displayed in the center of the screen. The approach makes sense considering Google Maps uses the right part of the screen of navigation instructions, including the next turn, the ETA, and so on.

Google Maps uses a similar layout when driving without navigation but still keeping on-screen features, such as the search box and the favorite locations, activated.

When you hide them, Google Maps previously retained its left aligning for absolutely no reason.

Imagine you're running Google Maps with nothing on the screen but your location and a large map using the entire screen estate. Instead of seeing your location in the center of the display, your position is still aligned to the left. It makes no sense, especially because the Google Maps shows no other elements on the rest of the screen.

As spotted recently, the Mountain View-based search giant recently addressed this problem with a Google Maps update on Android Auto. The application now correctly centers the user's location when navigation is disabled and no other banners are on the screen, putting the focus on the map and the user's surroundings.

Everything feels more natural now, as Google Maps correctly uses the screen estate to indicate the user's location. The user's location is still aligned to the left when navigation is enabled or when the app displays the search box and the favorite location, but this approach makes sense considering Google Maps must display more information.

The previous Google Maps behavior
Photo: reddit user DaiaBu
The change doesn’t seem to be live for everybody just yet. Someone on reddit says they already see the new behavior when navigation is not enabled, but the old approach is still live on my device running the up-to-date version of Google Maps on Android Auto 10.6 – the latest Android Auto build is 10.7, but it's only available for beta testers.

The reddit user who spotted the change says they submitted feedback to Google a few weeks ago, so the search company probably decided to take care of the problem in the latest update. No official announcement has been made, and I doubt the company will discuss this change anytime soon, as Google typically remains tight-lipped on Google Maps tweaks unless they're something truly big.

The latest stable version of Google Maps for Android at the time of writing is 11.102.0101, and it shipped on October 20.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

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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