wtf, google

Dear Google,

My most hated Google Maps misfeature: I'm zoomed in and I want to find a restaurant near the corner I'm looking at. Or, in this case, I'm looking at the restaurant's building on Street View but they don't have a sign and I don't remember what it's called.

You can't get there from here.

The phone version (PalmOS, at least) realizes that you want to see things near here, but the web page doesn't. No matter what you search for, it zooms you out to "city view" (if you're lucky: sometimes you get the whole continent.)

How much more context could I possibly give than the area I am already looking at? Why does it zoom out all the time! Gaah!

WTF, Google.

Tags: , ,

20 Responses:

  1. ladykalessia says:

    For those just tuning in:
    Right-click where you want to look near, select "Center Map here", then type your query.

  2. cow says:

    I agree with the complaint, but in the hopes of offering a work around: if you are zoomed in and want to find something, you can ask for 'awesome restaurant near embarcadero and broadway, san francisco, ca' or whatever. It'll still zoom out, but it will at least center results around the intersecion.

  3. gryazi says:

    Holy shit. I was about to complain that queries like "123 Where I'm At Road, 12345 to Business near City, ST" still don't work, but they've finally fixed that, probably within the past few weeks. Hallelujah.

    Now I'll just wonder why "123 Streetname Road to 456 Roadname Street, 12345" (the last number being a zipcode) still won't assume that "Streetname Road" is probably in the city described by zipcode 12345. The same thing happens if you use the city and state but only specify it once at the end of the query.

    Natural language can be hard, but if it's smart enough to get that far, it could stop showing me results 3 states away when trying to disambiguate the first part of the query with the city and state not specified. (In fact, for my location, it's asking me if I meant addresses three states away, but *not* the one in the town I'm in.)

  4. mapsjen says:

    Hey jwz,

    I ran across this post and would love to look into it for you. Can you let me know what search queries you used when you saw these results? This will help us to investigate.

    Maps Guide Jen

    • jwz says:

      Um... this is weird. It's not doing it any more. Perhaps one of your cohorts has already fixed it? Because I swear, last week (and last year) it didn't work this way! Here's what I did just now:

      1. Go to "San Francisco"
      2. Manually zoom in until you're looking at Divisadero & Hayes
      3. Now, I want to find the name of a restaurant that I know is within a block of there. I type "restaurant" into the search field, and today I get shown this. But last week, instead I got shown something more like this!

      Is it possible that someone fixed this last week? Because I know I didn't imagine this... It consistently did that "zooming out" thing for me all last year.

    • jwz says:

      Ok, wait, here's an example of it screwing up.

      1. Go to "San Francisco"
      2. Manually zoom in until you're looking at Divisadero & Hayes
      3. Street view on that corner.
      4. I can't tell what the sign above that door says. So I type "restaurant" into the search field and get taken here, which is zoomed way, way out.
      5. And if I zoom in, no restaurants are marked on that corner. (Though at least I'm still centered on the right corner.)
      6. But now that I'm zoomed in, if I just go up to the search field and hit Return (on the "restaurant" text that's already there) I get better results.

      So there you have it. Maybe it's street view that makes it lose its location context.