C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
I use Google Maps almost every day. I use it for instruction, obviously, but I also use it the way most people use Yelp – for restaurant advice. If you need a train schedule, I will launch the Maps app to find the nearest lounge at the airport or to discover what the area of interest might be. Definitely one of my most used apps.
However, this does not mean that it is perfect. In fact, there’s a huge problem with the app that drives me crazy: the lack of ability to block businesses from search results. This may sound like a basic feature, but Google will not provide it.
Before I get into my complaint, show me what I’m talking about.
See also: Here’s how to stop Google Maps from draining your battery
Google Maps Search Results: Not What I Want
Suppose I have traveled to a place I have never been to before. Suddenly, I get thirsty for some tea (a common occurrence for me). As seen in the screenshots below, I can ask the map to make a list of nearby tea spots.
This is a great feature that I always use. However, notice the third screenshot. See how it recommends Dunkin ‘as a potential tea place? I don’t want to go to Dunkin. I never want to go there. Dunkin ’Donuts has terrible tea and most of the time there is very little seating. Also, it’s a huge chain – I’d rather go into a small business and support the locals.
I have repeatedly told Google Maps that I am not interested in Dunkin but it still suggests it to me.
Now, I’ve told Google Maps that I’m not interested in Dunkin ‘(see screenshots 4 and 5). You can do this by opening the map, tapping your profile picture, and then going to Settings> Manage your preferences. Unfortunately, this does not change much for your search results. You will still see ads for Dunkin ‘and you will still see Dunkin’ locations suggested to you. The only thing that changes is that you see a lower match percentage on the business side – in the case of Dunkin it is 5% match for me.
I want it to be a 0% match and I don’t want it to see my results anymore. Why can’t I do that, Google?
Related: The best GPS and Maps app for Android
I can block Google News results, why can’t I block business?
C. Scott Brown / Android Authority
In the Google News app, You can block the entire source. Let’s say I don’t want to see a story from a site called “The Best Dunkin ‘Blog”. I can find a story from that source in the News app, click the overflow icon and tap “Hide All News”. Boom: I’ll never see an article from “The Best Dunkin Blog” again.
This feature is because Google understands that you can’t trust certain news sources – or just don’t like them. Why doesn’t it make sense that we don’t trust / like certain businesses?
The inability to block businesses on the map makes it a less useful app.
Obviously, I know the answer to this question: money. Google does not generate direct advertising revenue from news sites, so there will never be a time when you have to push an ad for a news page. Google Maps – and Google’s main source of revenue, search – relies on advertising for profit. If I block Dunkin ‘from my map search results, Google will also have to block Dunkin’ ads, which will be cut at the bottom line. That’s why Google Search has no official way to block sites from your searches (although there are solutions).
How do you feel about unsolicited suggestions on Google Maps?
Although I understand the logic, this whole situation makes the map less useful to me. I don’t want Dunkin in my search results, and I don’t want Chick-fil-A in there either. I’m never going to the Home Depot again, and I never want to hear about the Hobby Lobby as long as I’m alive. Maps would be a good product if I could say that I should visit these businesses.