What I hate about the new Google Maps Street View

On April 29, look 2015, Google deprecated the “Classic” version of Google Maps. As someone who uses Google Street View every day, I clung to the classic version as long as I could.

On Twitter, @erasing asked me what I hated about the “new” Google Maps UI (and Street View) in particular. I gave him a brief answer there, but thought it might be worth spelling out in greater detail why exactly the interface for the Classic Maps was better.

I should say in advance that @erasing has created several Chrome bookmarklets that alleviate some of the pain of switching to the new Google Maps (for me, anyway). If you care deeply about the photography and imagery of Street View, you might be interested in these: http://scottdavidherman.com/gsv/

1. Classic Maps Street View had a built in  full-screen toggle. Now, you can get to full screen in your browser (Cmd-shift-F on OSX, F11 on Windows) but it’s no longer a feature of Street View specifically. Maybe this sounds like a minor thing, but I think it is one of the best selling points of Street View: how good the imagery looks, full-screen, on a big monitor.

2. With the new Google Maps, there are no leader lines or static arrows on streets—so  you often can’t tell which direction to click to move forward. Maybe this works OK on actual streets, but more and more Street View photography is off-road. Let’s say you are exploring the top of Enchanted Rock. In the old version of Street View, there were arrows pointing which way the camera moved, so you would at least know where to click (they would fade away if you didn’t move the mouse for a second). It looked like this:


The new UI combines the arrow and circle so that you have to move around to see if and when there is a line to follow. There is no way to tell where exactly to click. The giant X is supposed to be a target, but it also moves. In this case, it’s actually behind the arrow:


3. New Google Maps defaults to the “political” map view rather than the satellite view. Maybe there is a way to change this default setting but I hate it. I don’t understand why the majority of users would prefer a less realistic view of the world.


The satellite view contains vastly more information than the cartoonish political view.


If there is a way to change this default view, I’m sure it requires you to be signed into your Google account. Please comment on this post if you know how to change the default.

4. I could live with many of these annoying features, but perhaps my main complaint about the new Google Maps Street View is how much junk there is on the screen. They have added so much cruft and junk to the main view that it’s often difficult to see the main image. Scott’s bookmarklets are amazing because they instantly hide all this junk.

5. In the new version, I also think the blue lines that show where Street View imagery is are way too faint.

E-rock5 E-Rock6

Why make the lines so faint? There are some instances where it is so faint that it blends in with the background and disappears completely.

6. In the new version, when you drag Pegman over to the map and drop him into a blue street, there is this three-second, bullshit animation that is completely unnecessary.

So, in sum, I thought there was nothing really wrong with the Classic Maps and no need to make all these “enhancements” to the user interface. Maybe some of these are linked to the use of WebGL Maps imagery, but I don’t know about any of that nonsense.

However, I did discover that there exists a link where Google Maps Classic still works: https://www.google.com/lochp Does anyone know what “lochp” means?


I absolutely agree with everything you said. It saved me lots of time as I was too lazy to compile my own list of complaints !! Google is getting too big,and it reminds me of all the crabgrass that is spreading on my lawn!

my #1 problem is all the junk and scroll down options menus that keep flipping over if the cursor goes near it… it doesn’t even have to touch the thing to cause it to unfurl. it’s the most annoying part.

and yes, i’d like to set custom tweaks without logging in.

by the way, no lines telling us which way to click was a real problem when i was exploring the mariana islands in the pacific. the google cam was all over flat areas, but i left feeling like i did not “unlock” all the routes, like it was some sort of stupid video game.

sorry… not the mariana islands, i mean the midway islands.

island exploring is fun on google maps

…but does Google Street View have a spelunking map for Enchanted Rock?



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