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Google kills stand alone Map Maker in March 2017

     
10:25 pm on Nov 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Google just announced in their product support forum [productforums.google.com] that they will retire the stand alone Google Map Maker product in March 2017.
Today, we want to let you know that Google Map Maker features will officially graduate and be integrated directly into Google Maps in March 2017 when we’ll retire the standalone Map Maker product.

Although they call it graduation from Map Maker to Maps, only some parts of the functionality of Map Maker are currently available in Maps and it is to be seen how much of the core functionality will be transferred in the coming months. Since the start of Map Maker in 2008, Google had the habit of removing rather than adding functionality, including removing support for 150 of the 200 countries after the Android on Apple pee incident, and removing support for adding buildings, landscape features and water features.
2:23 am on Nov 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Limiting the tool set ... sounds like "uh, we didn't think of folks doing THAT!"

Just wondering, how many here routinely used G's Map Maker?
6:26 pm on Nov 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Do you think it was abuse that prompted this change?
Maps has been expanded, but, it'll not give the same flexibility.
8:53 pm on Nov 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Map Maker was the wrong solution for the wrong problem.

The tool has been launched in 2008 to create maps in countries with little or no coverage of commercial map data. It allowed people to add data to the map and review edits of others. This is ideal in a situation where people feel responsibility for their work and where there is only little or moderate commercial interest (read spamming) to use the tool. Refresh cycles between map additions and visibility on the global Google Maps were multiple months apart, but no-one cared because delayed data on Google Maps was still better than no data. Long refresh cycles was an automatic guard against the spammers in for a quick buck, because their spammy edits would have been discovered long before they would have been visible on the global map.

But Google made IMHO the wrong decision to use the same tool in an almost unaltered version to edit the map data on high quality and high profile maps in North America and Western Europe a few years later. This was not where the tool was designed for. To make it worse they added instantaneous publishing of approved data from Map Maker to Google Maps making it a very handy tool for spammers.

Despite all the changes to the algorithms and multiple trusted user moderation programs, Google hasn't been able to find the sweet spot which would allow mappers in low-profile countries to enhance the base maps at a high rate, while at the same time guarding the maps in high-profile countries against abuse. It is my personal opinion that this was not because the tool was bad itself, but simply because they tried to solve two problems at once with only one piece of software.

What will happen now is that Google will take the community and collaboration part out of the equation. Users will still be able to propose changes to the map, but much more in a "Report a Problem" fashion where proposed changed will be sent to Google for consideration, rather than directly to the community. Google may be sending those proposed changes back to other users in that area through the Local Guides program, but only when their algorithms determine that a specific user may be a good fit to review a change based on their location and edit history, not based on any acquired review trust level as is now the case in Map Maker.
 

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