Ex-Google Maps Head Expresses Displeasure with New Design, Citing Inaccuracy and Reduced Human Touch


Former Designer from Google Maps Voices Discontent on X Platform, Criticizing the New Map Design as ‘Less Accurate,’ ‘Colder,’ and ‘Less Humane

If you are a regular user of Google Maps, you may have noticed a significant redesign recently. One of the most noticeable changes is the pathway color, now a bright royal blue instead of the familiar sky blue from the past few years. Water bodies on the map also display a different color, and the overall design has undergone alterations. While some users appreciate the new design for Google Maps, others miss the previous version and question the necessity of the update.

A former Google employee, involved in designing the older version of Google Maps, expressed dissatisfaction with the new design, describing it as ‘cold, less accurate, and less human’ in a post on X. Elizabeth Laraki, who contributed to Google Maps’ design 15 years ago and continues to use the application daily, shared her perspective on the changes.

In her post, Laraki discussed how the team made a ‘dramatic change to the map’s entire visual design,’ a change she does not particularly ‘love.’ She criticized the updated color scheme, which includes gray roads, teal waters, and mint green parks and open spaces.

Laraki elaborated on the alterations, pointing out what works and what feels off in the new design. While acknowledging improvements in visibility for major roads, traffic, and trails, she criticized the blending of colors for water and parks/open spaces. She expressed that the palette feels colder and more computer-generated. Laraki suggested that if the goal was improved usability, the team missed an opportunity to clean up unnecessary overlays on the map.

Proposing changes to the map design, Laraki concluded her post by emphasizing the need for products to undergo periodic simplification. Reflecting on her experience as one of the two designers of Google Maps in 2007, she highlighted the challenges they faced with a cluttered interface and the need to simplify and scale for the future. Laraki suggested that it might be time for Google Maps to undergo a similar reevaluation.

Meanwhile, Google Maps made headlines recently when it directed a group of travelers on a route that led them stranded in a desert. This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of staying informed and cautious while navigating unfamiliar terrain, even when relying on tools like Google Maps.

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