Sayonara Google MapMaker – To Be Retired Over the Next 4 Months

Google has announced that MapMaker will be sunset and rolled into Google Maps. Here are some thoughts from Joy Hawkins. I have not yet thought throught the implications of this but they are significant.

I just received this email:

Google Map Maker graduates to Google Maps

We have some important updates to share with you about Google Map Maker. In March 2017 we are retiring the standalone Map Maker product and will integrate its features directly into Google Maps.

This update will enable us to focus on providing the best editing and moderation experience within Google Maps on both desktop and on mobile. We’ll continue to roll out new features to make sure you’re able to do most of the things you’ve grown accustomed to doing in Map Maker – like edit roads – leading up to March 2017 and after.

Since 2008, the Google Map Maker community has edited and moderated millions of features to improve the Google Maps experience for users worldwide. The Google Maps team has since brought Map Maker capabilities, such as adding and editing places, to our desktop and mobile products to make it easier for more users to keep their communities up to date while at home or on the go. These changes have empowered many more users to update the places they care about, view the status of their edits, and moderate other users’ edits.

Starting today, edits made on Google Maps will no longer be available for moderation on Map Maker. This will allow us to streamline our efforts, speeding up the time for an edit to get published. We will continue posting updates here on the Map Maker Help Forum and on as we bring more features into Google Maps.

To keep contributing your local knowledge to Google Maps and engage with a passionate community of likeminded individuals, we invite you to join the Local Guides program where you can earn points, unlock rewards for submitting edits and other information, and get early access to new Google Maps features.

We’ve greatly appreciated your contributions to Google Maps over the years and hope you will continue to update the world around you.

Thank you,

The Google Map Maker Team

Why this makes sense for Google:
1- It will create a single unified interface to be maintained going forward.
2- Google will have a single source for changes so that things like categories and address standards can be handled in a unified way.
3- There is one less data pipeline feeding their local database keeping the whole (complicated) system simpler.
4- There will be one less spam vector.
5- They will have a unified community management process. This means fewer support people, fewer forums etc.

What we hope will happen
1- The interface will hopefully be simpler for things like road edits so that non technical folks can actually make edits
2- As Joy points out, we can only hope that Google will surface listing and feature edit histories. This is incredibly valuable in diagnosing and fixing problems. (That being said the order of the day at Google is less transparency not more)
3- That spam will actually be less (HAH one can always dream).

The not so good about the change:
1- Long term contributors will have to learn new ways of working
2- Their stature in the community and their contributions might not be properly recognized. Google has a very short memory.
3- It often takes Google years to replace features that were standard in the old system as they transition.

What we don’t know
1- Will regional leads, that will now be part of the Local Guide program, have more authoritative editing capability?
2- Will they have the ability to approve other edits or change wrong edits that were made automatically or by someone without proper ground knowledge?

I am sure that you will have additional questions. What are they?

Please consider leaving a comment as your input will help me (& everyone else) better understand and learn about local.
Sayonara Google MapMaker - To Be Retired Over the Next 4 Months by

8 thoughts on “Sayonara Google MapMaker – To Be Retired Over the Next 4 Months”

    1. Actually they are sunsetting MapMaker but making Maps more powerful. From where I sit that means that Maps has a good ten years left. No emeritus for me. Plan on dying with “my boots on”.

  1. Several things I’ll miss:

    – Ability to add a comment/reason for the edit request (can’t add a custom description of the issue on Google Maps). Example: You can write out which listing is a duplicate of which specific listing in MapMaker (in Google Maps, you can only say that a listing has a duplicate listing, but not which one is the duplicate you’re referring to).

    – Ability to look at the history of a listing to see why a listing is the way it is.

    – Ability to see if a listing is verified (claimed).

    – Ability to see some listings that may not be on Google Maps.

    – Ability to see/edit more categories than just the main one (especially for competitors).

  2. While the power regional leads have is one thing, will the G-cred that other prominent users have built up over time be reflected in approval of edits? Especially those who make frequent edits of a certain type. For example, it seems to be that if you have made several hundred edits to walking paths in MM, your edits of that type are approved more quickly.

    As you, Mike, and Justin have pointed out, I REALLY hope some semblance of edit history remains after the changeover.

  3. @Justin
    All good points.

    One minor point is that you can tell if a listing has been claimed in Maps because it will NOT contain the message:
    Claim this business. All unverified business contain that term.

  4. ah dang thats a downer I really enjoyed contributing to map maker with holiday discoveries I hadnt used it for my local SEO efforts as it wasnt covering AUS but knowing I helped guide people through the mountains of whistler was rewarding in itself 🙂

  5. Hopefully this merger does result in the interface becoming more user friendly. I’ve noticed that many new roads don’t get updated (especially around new housing developments) on Google Maps for months and making the interface more user friendly will allow non-technical people to submit changes to keep Google Maps fully up to date.

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