Note: Since I wrote this article, Google has tied up this loophole. You have no choice but to deal with the shitty new maps whose functionality seems severely limited. What was once a cutting edge company is now one determined to give inferior services and to mine people’s digital lives for information to sell.
It has been the case for centuries that those who make the maps hold the power. One of the preliminaries to successful colonization was always the making of a map. It is like making a bitcoin – the map represents land, an asset, that can be bought and sold; that can be exploited. Maps demarcate boundaries between countries, and over time these borders become sacrosanct.
In the digital age maps have become incredibly useful. They are used in sat nav systems in cars. And they are used on websites to show locations. Google quickly realised the money making potential of digital maps and set out on an ambitious program to map the world not only from above but also from street level. The Google car with its big dome has been the object of attacks, arrest and pranks. Numerous groups have complained about their privacy. I presumed they clicked away any rights to privacy when they got a Google account!
Anyway, I always found Google Maps incredibly useful for making maps. You can put place markers on the map and label them. You can go with Google’s blue marker or use your own. You can choose between a satellite image and a simplified digital rendition. And then you can easily embed them on a website. It is an interactive feature on a website that improves the user experience and gives a site a small SEO boost.
That was until recently. I logged into maps a few days ago and found I was unable to make a map. As with a lot of Google products the updated version looks sleeker but actually has a lot less functionality. It brings to mind how suddenly Google Analytics stopped showing 90% of search terms used to access a site. The company that espouses a mission of doing no evil clearly has an agenda, otherwise they wouldn’t remove functionality.
All is not lost with Google Maps. If you want to create maps you can still get on to classic maps using the following address:
This is worth remembering as trying to find classic maps on the new-fangled and less useful new version is not easy. Wonder why that is?