Google Maps May Have Ads

John Lister's picture

Google Maps could have ads displayed in locations on the map itself. A newly-awarded patent explains how Google could adjust the costs to advertisers based on factors such as the user's location.

The photographs in the patent application suggest the feature would most likely be added to the standard diagram view in Google Maps, rather than either the aerial image view or the Street View photographs.

The system would designate specific areas on the map such as a building and treat them as spaces where an ad could appear. How many ads would appear on the screen would depend on how closely the user had zoomed in or out. (Source:

Ads Cost More If You're Nearby

Google seems to be trying to balance selling as many ads as possible with making individual ads big enough for the user to be able to read them and be more likely to click on them. It says it could reduce the cost to advertisers as more ads appear on the map at any one time, thus reducing each one's impact.

According to the patent application, which ads appeared could depend on the context. For example, available ad locations might change depending on whether the user was simply browsing a location, looking for directions, or specifically searching for a particular type of business or facility. The last of these would likely command the highest rate from advertisers.

Rates could also be higher if the user was actually in the area when searching the map, rather than looking at it at home. (Source:

Maps Won't Be Made Ugly

Google says the system would be set up so that the number and placement of the ads won't make them look unattractive or obscure key landmarks.

The application even suggests advertisers could suggest types of ads they don't want to appear besides and would be offered lower rates in these cases. Google gives the example of a meditation center not wanting its ads to appear at the same time as ads which highlight nearby businesses that create a lot of noise such as a bar or racetrack.

What's Your Opinion?

Would ads appearing in maps deter you from using them? Is this a fair price to pay for a free service or does it go too far? Could there be any value in this system for users rather than just advertisers?

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Average: 4.3 (8 votes)


repete_14444's picture

Good old Alphabet,DBA Google, already using our data to target ads, now looking to put ads on maps. Makes me want to go back to folding paper maps...or a GPS device that *isn't* tied to mother Alphabet!

doulosg's picture

"Information wants to be free" but Google wants to charge for it. That said, the way I use Google Maps shows that it is a valuable application. Monetarily valuable? As in, "Would I pay for an ad-free version?" Maps already shows locations that are somehow extracted from my personal history, whether I really care or need to know where they are. If the ads are unobtrusive and can be ignored like I ignore most others, an ad-free version wouldn't be worth the money. At least, Google doesn't seem to do advertising like MSN or FoxNews.

davolente_10330's picture

As if we haven't already got enough ads. shoved down our throats from various sources! The last thing I want is an advert staring me in the face, when using Google maps. I think this is a terrible idea and will drive folk to use other freebies. Think again, Google.

matt_2058's picture

The greed-driven creativity seems to be the most inventive out there.

Improvement by placing a business's logo above their building related to a search is more helpful than a bunch of 'stick-pins' on the map and would be great.

But why do that when an advertisement can be sold.

beach.boui's picture

In their attempts to further monetize Google Maps, they'll keeping screwing with it until it is so f%*ked up that no one wants to use it. The last thing I want when I'm driving with one hand, navigating the phone screen with the other, desperately trying to directions to where I want to go, is for adverts to start popping up on the screen, obstructing my view of the maps and competing for my attention. Every update to Google Maps pushes me closer to other map/navigation apps.

buzzallnight's picture

I don't use google maps....

google is even worse than M$

in the

"we are programmers
and even though we can't actually do anything right,
we must f*ck with something constantly
or we will explode!!!!!!!!!!"

"What is hyperactive attention deficit disorder?
We don't know"

"Did we actually make something that works right?
don't worry we will improve it!!!!!!!!!"


russoule's picture

why do so many complain about ads? I don't like ads either, but that is the price you pay to receive this stuff for "free". I have a ROKU TV and many streaming "channels" which are "free". their costs are paid by the advertisers who run ads on those streaming services and keep me from paying for streaming. do I like it? of course not. but I prefer it to paying for the service. if GOOGLE needs to cover the cost of its MAPS service by having ads, that is better than having NO MAPS at all. most of the posters on this site seem to be in some sort of business and they should be aware that NOTHNG IS TRULY FREE. who pays for the people who drive around and update those maps? who pays for the equipment required to service millions of users who access that app? all the "normal" expenses of a business are also expenses for ALPHABET and need to be paid for by someone or something. my preference is that someone ELSE pays the bill, probably via an advertisement.

however, I DO think the imposition of an ad on the displayed screen is irritating, Dennis. my eyes are bad enough without having to look for an "x" to close the displayed ad, particularly when I am reading a complete page, usually of a blog post.