Google Maps plans to remove this handy feature by next year

Google Maps plans to remove this handy feature by next year
Image credit — PhoneArena

Google Maps, a widely-used navigation and discovery tool, is reportedly preparing to remove its "Followed Places" feature in early 2025. This change, discovered through an APK breakdown of the app's code, indicates that users will no longer be able to see or follow places within the app after the specified date. However, users have the option to download their local followed places data from the Maps section of Google Takeout before the feature is removed.

A new APK breakdown has shed light on the fact that the "Followed Places" feature, which allows users to receive updates and news from businesses and places listed on Google Maps, has gradually lost prominence over time. The "+" Follow button, once easily visible under business names, seems to have disappeared for many users. Furthermore, Google's support documentation no longer provides instructions on how to follow a business, further indicating a shift away from this feature. The feature to add places to a list, however, remains untouched.

Google Maps "Followed Places" feature back in 2018 (Image credit — Google) versus now gone in 2024 (Image credit — PhoneArena)

There are several possible reasons why Google might be phasing out "Followed Places." One possibility is that user engagement with the feature was low. With so many ways to stay connected with businesses online (like social media, email lists, and loyalty programs), users may not have found the "Followed Places" feature to be particularly useful. Additionally, the integration of the feature within the Google Maps app might not have been ideal. The "For You" tab, where updates from followed places were delivered, may not have been the most intuitive location for users to check for updates. Finally, Google Maps is constantly adding new features and functionalities. It's possible that Google decided to prioritize resources on other areas that they believe will be more valuable to users.

Introduced in 2018, "Followed Places" aimed to simplify how users stay informed about their favorite businesses and locations on Google Maps. By following a place, users could receive updates directly within the app, including upcoming events, special offers, and any other news the business or location wanted to share. This information was consolidated in the "For You" tab, offering a central hub to stay updated on all followed places.

With Google Maps constantly innovating to provide users with the best possible experience, the decision to remove the "Followed Places" feature reflects a shift in how users prefer to stay informed about the places around them. While some users may have found the "Followed Places" feature helpful, Google might be looking to streamline the app's functionality and prioritize features that are more widely used. Nevertheless, users have the chance to preserve their followed places data before the feature disappears in 2025.

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