That’s fine if you’re into the new feature, but does anyone else but me feel like Google Maps has become another case of a popular app getting bloated up with features you don’t want? Just give me my maps, navigation, and estimated arrival time, thank you very much!
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Look, I love Google Maps as much as anybody. But I’m starting to reconsider if what’s ostensibly the world’s best mapping service is losing sight of what makes it so useful.
Yeah, most people use Google Maps to look up directions to place and find nearby restaurants or bars, but I can’t help but feel Google’s cramming too many features into the app.
I mean, just look at the list of questionably “useful” features that have been added to Maps this year alone:
Send your ETAs to friends and family on iOS
Control your music while navigating
“Matching” you with restaurants
Share your battery level with friends
I’m sure there are more that I missed, but if you look back to last year and the year before, you’ll see the same pattern.
Sure, some of the new features are genuinely useful, like reminding you where you parked your car or helping you find charging stations for your electric vehicle, or real-time transit schedules, but the majority seems to be a bunch of junk I just don’t want in my map app.
The bloat creep is enough to make me consider switching to Apple Maps, even though the mapping is nowhere near as sophisticated or accurate as Google’s. Apple’s made a lot of progress over the last couple of years, adding useful features like indoor mapping for places like airports and malls, and the company’s even working on a bigger redesign to improve accuracy, but it’s still got a ways to go before it reaches parity with Google Maps.
Correct me if I’m wrong and you do use all of Google Maps’ new features or find them practical, but I open up the app and am annoyed on the daily about what exactly I’m supposed to be doing in it.
It’s the same feeling as when Snapchat added way too many features — features for the sake of adding them to compete with other social networks — because it lost its focus. Same happened to Facebook and ditto with Instagram.
Apps and service growth is great, but at a certain point the developers working on them need to step back and ask “Is this actually something good to include in the app?”