New Google Maps Adds More Search Results To Info Window

google-maps-iphone-iconThe (relatively) new Google Maps is certainly visually richer than the old Maps UI. However it may be somewhat less functional. As one example, it eliminates one of my favorite and most-used features: “search nearby.” It’s now also somewhat harder to access multiple results on a category query, ironically.

Yesterday, Google Operating System spotted a change in the number of search results showing in the main info-window below the search box. Google is now showing three results per category query. The following is an example result for “San Diego Sushi.”

Google Maps Sushi

Below is the same search result in the old Google Maps UI. Although more visually pedestrian, it’s more useful in several respects.

Old Google Maps Sushi

The following is a drill down on a single search result in the new Google Maps. The expanded result opens when users click on any of the links in the window.

Google Maps Sushi single result

Below is the old Maps UI. When one clicked on an individual result, an info-window or bubble appeared on the map itself.

Old Google Maps UI

Comparing the two views of individual listings on the old and new Maps UIs, it’s clear the new UI provides more information “at a glance.” However, as mentioned, users don’t get the “search nearby” feature, which I used frequently. I often used it, for example, to find a destination (e.g., conference location) and then identify nearby hotels or restaurants within walking or a short driving distance. (Note to Google: feature request.)

Below is the “list view” from the new Maps UI. It’s available after a click on “Go to Top Results.” Users can also drill down from this screen into individual business listings. These screens are more attractive and less cluttered than the old Maps UI list view. However they’re buried behind a click (or two clicks).

New Maps list view

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 7.02.12 AM

What’s very interesting is that Google+ is now harder to get to. Previously, in the old UI, clicking “more info” on any individual business listing took users to the Google+ Local page for that business. In the new UI, you get to the Google+ page for the business by clicking “reviews.” That’s not intuitive and effectively buries Google+. However it’s not clear that the majority of users would be seeking the Google+ listing for a business anyway.

Google Maps are increasingly a mobile-first product. My understanding, based on comScore data, is that since last year, there have been more mobile than PC users of Google Maps. By the same token, my sense is that the mapping segment may be “opening up” a bit. On the iPhone, Apple Maps has eaten into Google’s traffic.

In addition, the success of Waze (acquired by Google) suggests that it’s once again possible to launch a mapping app with a novel feature or twist and build a following.

Related Topics: Channel: Local | Google: Maps & Local | Google: Mobile | Top News

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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  • http://www.kyleeggleston.com/ Kyle Eggleston

    The new UI is slower across the board.

  • http://www.949local.com/ Jim Froling

    Thanks Greg for the update on the “new” Maps UI.

    I have avoided “upgrading” to the new Maps UI. Partly due to the hassle of drilling down as you mentioned. Also, the speed (or lack of) as @kyleeggleston:disqus notes below.

    Mostly, however, the results in the old UI correlated closely to pack search results. With the old UI, we can tell how far from page 1 our client is (more or less) and what progress we’re making compared to previous period. With the new UI, there is no such insight.

  • http://www.mobilemartin.com/ Michael Martin

    Greg,

    Are you down here in San Diego? :)

  • Paresh

    The bigger Google gets the more it becomes slow and dare I say EVIL. Does any of the top execs there realize how badly they are perceived? Bring back Eric S.

    Does it remind you of MS? Before than IBM. History keeps repeating…

    They have made it too difficult to search near by. I was in Houston few days ago and I couldn’t figure out how to search for restaurants near friends house.

    I had difficulty searching for hotels (via near by) as well on laptop at home. But, for some reason, I didn’t have problem using nearby feature from Nexus 7 tablet while I was waiting for flight at LAX.

    What happened to the feature to e-mail (or print) you directions? I guess Google assumes you have Android or iPhone. They also got rid of or hidden text the directions to the phone.

    I switched to old map and still could not find the features. I selected text version of the directions, did copy and paste to Gmail (to myself) and format was unusable. So much for text version. I had to copy to Notepad and then copy that to Gmail.

    Danny should expose the flaws in Google maps thoroughly. And e-mail the aricel to his contacts at Google.

    They made great improvements in speed but took away so much. I am very tempted to go back to Mapquest (which I have not used in years) or give Bing maps a try.

    Don’t get me started on Gmail app for Android.

  • http://internetmarketingideaz.blogspot.com/ Bhaskar Das

    Thats COOL…my Google place listing showing in different! have a look my listing: search @ map.google.co.in = Bhaskar Das

  • Michael Cottam

    Great writeup, Greg…and I 100% agree with your conclusions. I’ll add: I think Google is going in the wrong direction by providing a top-3 results by default, vs. a page of 10 to choose from. I’d say even the 7-pack integrated into the organics is too few, especially given the shortage of G+ reviews on the average listing.

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