Ask HN: Anyone else finding Google Maps terrible?

Planning a Japan trip and it's acting very weird.

1. Just now I was zoomed into Kuwana, Nagoya and clicked the 'restaurant' button they show at the top. It then moved to Tokyo and showed me like 3 random restaurants there. Clicked back, tried again and it showed me restaurants in London.

2. I searched for 銭湯 (public bath) while zoomed into my hotel and it zoomed out to basically the whole of Japan suggesting some random places. I KNOW there are multiple good options nearby.

3. Similar searches for supermarket or convenience store showed results 10-15 minutes away but completely hid some places really close to the hotel. This seems to be based on them having a 3/5 rating - it's a convenience store. Rating is not the issue.

This is on top of the badge spam (Google show so many badges for hotels and things that I can't even recognise my own marked locations in the quagmire) and it's tendency to zoom out to the whole country when I search for things, which is very frustrating as I almost always want to search nearby.

I have maps search and location history off, so it might be punishing me for that.

Just curious if anyone else has noticed this, as imo this is a fairly recent (last year or so) issue.




Something that I noticed is that the terrain mode doesn't show the contour lines as you zoom in. They display when you are zoomed out to see a wide area, but as you zoom into a terrain feature the lines and the elevation text disappear.


1. Are you using maps on android, iphone, or on the web? If on the web - did you open the page yourself, or did you arrive there by clicking the maps link on some other page?

I have generally been happy with google maps experience (mostly on android) here in Japan over the past several years. Other family members use it on their iPhones, and seem to prefer it to Apple maps.

Google maps on web (If I use it, it is mostly in Chrome) sometimes acts very wonky when you arrive there by link from e.g. hotel webpage, travel-agency, or similar. (so navigate to is preferable).

2. Is the UI in English, or in Japanese?

I have noticed a slight tendency on the web version to punish you for using Japanese terms in the English UI, and vice-versa, nothing as bad as the symptoms you are describing though.

Also it seems like you know enough Japanese to understand the difference between 銭湯 (sento) and 温泉 (onsen) - just thought I'd mention that they are not the same , just in case a translation software threw you for a loop.

3. I don't think its punishing your for having location history off, but it might punishing you for having maps-search turned off - not sure about that.

4. Since you seem security-minded, is it possible you are also disallowing cookies or other JS functionality that might be affecting the behavior of the webapp?


I prefer Apple Maps, I just wish they would have a favorites story similar to google maps. It’s also not always as good internationally, but seems to be improving.


yeah it's a dying app? maybe not enough maintainers and QA


Definitely no maintainers. Still can't get the roads around me fixed (they're completely wrong). I've been trying for... 10 years? And this included Googler friends sending internal requests.

I wish openstreetmap did pins better. I don't expect it to be trivial to add traffic and directions to it but they could at least have a pins/popups system.


There's a theory they can't monetize it and thus not put too much work into it(because it would have to justify itself) because of big antitrust issues if they started valueing the service.


No, it seems to be working just fine for me in the US, perhaps it's a Japan-specific issue.


One weird bug for me this last year:

Frequent alternative routes being recommended that are literally just:

-take this next exit -turn around on the highway -take the next exit -get back to where you are now

(But it only adds 7 more minutes to your trip!!)

Would love to see the bug fix report on why these meaningless alternative routes are being suggested.


This has happened to me twice near Cleveland. So stupid.


I wonder if iOS anti-tracking features broke parts of google maps data collection and recommendation.




Google Enshitification is everywhere.

used to be you needed a novel idea for a startup.

now you just need to copy a Google service, but not make it unusably shit.

Google today is the wish version of Google twenty years ago


Google 5 years ago was amazing, I would have never predicted Search and Maps to have gotten worse. It would have been better if they just stopped making changes altogether rather than whatever they are doing now. Does anyone have any insights on why this is happening?


Layoffs haven’t helped.


Why do I have to zoom in so much to be able to see a street name?


It’s been getting terrible.

What kills me is trying to search in an area and having it pan out or pan over to show me an ad. I think it’s their monetization that is killing UX.


I'm in London.

Apple Maps is vastly superior to Google at this point, especially for navigation. Google Maps cycling directions always take me through some smoke-filled tunnel or weird and not very cycleable back alleys. With Apple Maps I can mostly just blindly follow the directions.

I've also had similar experiences in quite a few places in Europe and South America.


I've also found Apple Maps' instructions are easier to follow. Apple Maps gives instructions like a human would ("in two lights, make a left onto Main Street"), unlike Google which usually gives instructions in distances ("in a half mile, turn left onto Main Street").

I'm sure some prefer the latter, but I find that it makes it much more likely that I will miss a light or especially a side street with only the smaller street signs on the side of the road.


I have made the switch to Apple Maps too, why Google seems to be destroying their key products is something I find extremely perplexing.


Yes, gmaps search is pretty bad. I often have to rezoom after search and click "search again".


Did you try to search for "public bath near me" instead of just "public bath"? That tends to work better for me when I search for stuff on Google Maps.


I've been on two long-ish car trips (~3000 miles total) in the past month. Google Maps has given me directions that are absolutely wrong, it has given me routes that double back on themselves for no reason, and many times it has given me directions far too late to do me any good. The volume controls and Bluetooth have always been wonky, so I've learned to make sure those are set up before I start moving ... but lately, either one will just cut out for absolutely no reason in mid-trip. Just like the app will suddenly background itself for no reason. It's like they want people to be fiddling with the phone while driving, to get their navigation app back. Wouldn't be surprised if these bugs and misfeatures have contributed to actual deaths. I tried Waze, even though I know it's now owned by Google but hoping they hadn't screwed it up yet. It said it couldn't find any route to my destination, so I had to go back to Maps.

It's absolute garbage now, from a company apparently determined to enshittify everything they've ever touched faster and faster. Are there decent alternatives on Android? Will I have to get an iPhone?


> Are there decent alternatives on Android?

Either your destination is available on OSMAnd, or it will be after you add it. This is also why I don't understand why people complain about their streets being wrong. Google won't give a fuck, but it's correctable on OSM within a few minutes typically.


Yep. Switched to Apple Maps and (as backup) Organic Maps recently.


> 2. I searched for 銭湯 (public bath) while zoomed into my hotel and it zoomed out to basically the whole of Japan suggesting some random places. I KNOW there are multiple good options nearby.

Maybe it's because I only use it on the web, but isn't the appropriate way to do this to have the hotel as the focused destination/context then click its "search nearby" button?

But generally, yes, I do find it to be deteriorating with time.


Lyft’s routes are batshit crazy sometimes. I presume it’s Google’s fault.


When I search for restaurants with an “open now” filter, it shows me restaurants that are closed… according to Google maps. Not sure if anyone else has seen this happen.


I try to avoid it, primarily because the badge spam obscures anything you might actually be looking for. OSM works for me.


Sometimes it never shows me the name of the street, no matter how much I zoom in


Oh it does that too! It hides the names of businesses so I can't click them!


They probably switched to a neural algorithm which can’t be explained and is often completely wrong.


Yes it's absolutely getting worse. It will suggest routes where there is obviously a better way to go (accounting for traffic and everything). This is in the US.


Yep this happened to me yesterday. In a taxi, the driver was following Google Maps, which showed a 22 min ETA, with one or two alternatives adding a minute or so. My phone was open and showed the same options. He felt certain that he knew a better route—via a highway, not a back road—and when he took that first rogue turn, Google Maps adjusted and the ETA instantly dropped to 14 min.


Google's doing it to balance traffic loads. Remember that you're the product, not the customer. Right now it's just in the testing phase, but soon the capability will be sold to municipalities and billboard owners.

I'm not really sure where I sit on this, but I have to admit it's a hell of a capability. There's some big implications of this degree of control over a population.


Is this confirmed or just your speculation? Interesting idea regardless.


I consistently will check my commute to work, as there are two roughly equal routes, either of which can be disrupted for a number of reasons. As of a few weeks ago, Google maps has stopped showing my preferred route entirely, trying to put me onto the freeway, or a toll highway 3 miles out of my way.

Once I'm about a half mile down my preferred route, Google will stop telling me to take a u-turn and actually update to the faster route, consistently saving 5-10 minutes (like 30% of the trip total).

I'm honestly baffled. My faster, preferred route takes less time, but maybe Google is prioritizing routes on freeways over arterial streets?

If Google won't show me the fastest routes I don't even feel inclined to use it. Do you have any other recommendations?


I have to double check the routes sometimes because if you drive a sufficiently long distance, it'll bring you into some creepy swamp instead of the highway.


Yup. Ended up on a gravel road in Eastern Colorado due to this feature when there was a much better route to the Highway available.


Does it to me going to JFK airport. Always tries to get me to exit at Jamaica then get back on the highway. Makes no sense