Google to Switch All Users to the New Google Maps

Well, this is disappointing news. Although the new Google Maps definitely has some nice features, there’s still something to be said for the simplicity and relatively uncluttered appearance of the old Google Maps.

Google community manager Abby announced on the official Google Maps forum yesterday that the company will move all users of Google Maps to the new version of the product soon. The same message appears on Google Maps if the classic version of the application is still being used.

Up until now it was possible to switch back to the classic version of Google Maps but that option won’t be available anymore then as the classic version will be removed completely.

The new version of Google Maps is quite different from the old one in many regards.

Google calls the new version an improvement over the old while at least some users are of a different opinion.

google maps classic

The list of complaints includes the following ones among many others:

  1. The new Google Maps interface is slower than the old.
  2. The search form that Google placed on the map blocks parts of the map visually.
  3. Google Map Labs has been retired and is no longer available.
  4. Option to see, check and uncheck previous searches is no longer available.

The new My Maps feature is heavily criticized as well. This includes performance issues among many other complaints such as no satellite view, missing options to click on train or subway stations, no right-click option to freely mark locations or no option to edit the color and icon of pins you place.

The decision to switch all users to the new Google Maps is final and while Google is asking for feedback, it is unlikely that the company will have a change of heart.

This leaves users with three options to deal with the issue:

  1. Live with the change and use the new Google Maps.
  2. Switch to another map provider.
  3. Try the new Lite mode when it comes out.

Switch to another map provider

Alternatives that classic Google Maps users may want to test are:

Additional mapping services are listed on Wikipedia.

The new Lite mode

According to Google, the new Lite mode is a faster, streamlined version of Maps for older browsers. You don’t have to run an old browser such as Internet Explorer 8 though to access it as you can use a user agent changer instead for that.

It is not clear if a special url will be provided later on that allows you to switch to that mode automatically. For now, you are automatically redirected to Google Maps classic if you are using an older browser.

Update: You can use this url https://www.google.com/maps/?force=canvas to load Lite Mode. Please note that it won’t bring back Google Maps classic but is merely an optimized version of the new Google Maps. Lite Mode is displayed in the status bar on Google Maps when maps are displayed in that mode.

It is therefore not necessary to change user agents in your browser to enforce that mode.

Please note that 3D Earth and 3D Imagery won’t work in Lite mode.

Google created a demo video for Lite Mode:

Lite Mode may work for you if performance is the main issue when you are using the new Google Maps. Since it won’t bring back any features that Google removed or changed however, it is not an alternative for users who require those features.

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