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 LocalGuidesConnect.com 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.
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?