Google Maps got a design overhaul with its last big update with generative AI and more features. The update doesn’t change much about the app’s design, but rather the color scheme of the maps you can browse, and people don’t like it much.
In the past, highways and freeways were represented in a vivid yellow hue, creating a distinct contrast against a plain white grid. However, the current version of the app displays all roads in different shades of gray, with prominent routes appearing darker and more pronounced compared to other roadways.
Have a look at the comparison image below.
Raynell Cooper, a staff member at the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, expressed dissatisfaction with the new look of Maps on X. He labeled it as “cartographically disappointing” since the update makes it much harder to tell different roads apart. He said: “major local roads and limited-access highways (freeways)” are essentially indistinguishable under the new design.
new google maps UI is cartographically disappointing! major local roads and limited-access highways (freeways) are basically indistinguishable. pic.twitter.com/qvVX0HqebQ
— Raynell Cooper (@rayyyynell) November 21, 2023
Here is another example of local roads and highways looking nearly indistinguishable in Pakistan. Take a look at the Srinagar Highway in Islamabad connecting with other roads under the red circle. The roundabout leading to Dhokri Chowk is also the same story.
Other users on X continued to compare Google Maps with Apple’s counterpart, mostly highlighting the difference in design following the latest Google update. Users compared how the rival services manage public transit planning, business listings, and traffic forecasts, along with considering the overall visual appeal of the interfaces.
Apple Maps just hits different at this point, especially with this awful new Google Maps color scheme rolling out. Compare place views and directions… pic.twitter.com/w13heoQgcx
— Mark Otto (@mdo) November 21, 2023
The good news is that Google has taken notice of these criticisms and has even commented publicly on the matter saying: “Thanks for the feedback, we really appreciate it! We will pass it on to the right team.” This means we can hope to see a change soon enough.
Hi there. Thanks for the feedback, we really appreciate it! We will pass it on to the right team.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) November 20, 2023