The World Really Needs Google Maps to Work (And It Often Doesn’t)

Google Maps needs more reliability and stability polishing 7 photos
Photo: Google
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Originally supposed to be a navigation app making it more convenient to drive to a specific destination, Google Maps has evolved to become so much more.
The app, no matter if you use it on Android or iPhone, now provides you not only with navigation capabilities but also with features to determine the busyness of a certain location, transit details, and street-level imagery to explore a region from your own home.

But this doesn’t necessarily mean Google Maps is no longer a navigation app. It is, and Google has been working very hard on improving it on this front, adding new features and polishing the existing ones.

The most recent addition, for example, is support for eco-friendly routes, which are provided as alternatives to the fastest way to reach a destination. The purpose is as simple as it could be: they are here to help reduce the carbon footprint and the fuel consumption as you drive to a destination.

So yes, Google Maps continues to be a must-have navigation app, despite now being able of providing a plethora of extras.

But the more Google focuses on these extras, the more Google Maps is losing its cool factor, in some cases leading to bugs that totally ruin the experience with the app.

Google Maps on Android Auto
Photo: Google

The December updates

The early December updates received by Google Maps are just the tip of the iceberg in this regard.

Many of those who installed the latest versions of Google Maps on their Android devices ended up struggling with all kinds of problems, from broken searches during navigation to inaccurate GPS tracking while driving.

The review section of the Google Maps section on the Play Store is full of one-star reviews, most of them posted after the latest updates. Google has already acknowledged some problems, such as the one that makes it impossible to search for nearby POIs while a route is configured, but it’s still asking for additional information for others.

Took me for a 2-hour detour through downtown at rush hour because it said would save me 11 minutes. My coworker went the regular way and was home an hour before me. We live 10 minutes away from each other. It has been making dumb suggestions like getting off the freeway when traffic is slow to wait 15 minutes for a traffic light just to get back on the freeway,” someone says emphasizing just how bad Google Maps has become when it comes to determining the best route to a destination.

Google Maps on Android Auto
Photo: Google
Others claim that Google Maps is just losing track in the middle of the driver, making it impossible to use its navigation guidance.

Google Maps used to be great... Now it keeps showing me out in fields & driving through buildings and parking lots when I'm on the highway or it shows me 2 streets over when I'm not. I can't even use this app anymore because it won't take me to my destination. It took me 9 miles further away from my destination the first time it messed up!” one user explains.

Unfortunately, with Google still investigating all these problems, users really can’t do much to restore Google Maps on their own. In theory, downgrading to an earlier version of the app could bring things back to normal, but most people choose to go the easy way and simply switch to another navigation.

Lucking for Google, their next destination is very often Waze, another traffic navigation app the Mountain View-based search giant owns. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean the experience on Waze is always flawless, but until Google finds a way to get Google Maps right, it does its job at least decently.
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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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