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Google Maps Adds New 'Areas of Interest' Overlay

A new Google Maps redesign hopes to help make it easier to explore your surroundings. As with everything based on a mobile phone, the potential exists that it might also help ignore your surroundings.
July 26, 2016, 2pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The author's hometown has areas of interest. Breathe a sigh of relief, Weaverville.
Google Maps

According to a post on the official Google Maps blog, the popular mapping site made "a few visual changes and additions to Google Maps on desktop, Android and iOS to help you better explore the world around you."

The changes are obvious, and won't have gone unnoticed to the well-trained eye of the Planetizen reader, but the post digs into the reasoning behind the changes. The post lists a "cleaner look" and a "more subtle and balanced color scheme" among the goals set for the redesign.

The most significant (and perhaps also the most debatable) feature of the redesign: the new information enabled by the cleaner look. Included now on Google Maps are "areas of interest," which Google determined "with an algorithmic process that allows us to highlight the areas with the highest concentration of restaurants, bars and shops." The areas of interest are shaded in orange, where users can "zoom in to see more details about each venue and tap one for more info." Watch the video below for an example of the new areas of interest function at work.

So, will areas deemed of interest by Google Maps benefit with more business and commercial activity, or suffer with additional congestion? And what about the areas deemed uninteresting, by default, for their lack of orange shading?

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Published on Monday, July 25, 2016 in Google Maps
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