Google Maps should have a way to block businesses
C. Scott Brown/Android Authority
I use Google Maps almost every day. I use it for directions, obviously, but I also use it like most people use Yelp – for restaurant suggestions. I’ll also launch the Maps app if I need train timetables, to find the nearest toilets at an airport, or to discover places of interest in an area. It is without a doubt one of my most used applications.
However, that doesn’t mean it’s 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. It would seem like a fundamental feature, but Google just won’t provide it.
Before I get into my complaint, let me show you what I’m talking about.
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Google Maps search results: this is not what I want
Let’s say I traveled somewhere I’ve never been before. Suddenly, I crave tea (a common occurrence for me). I can ask Maps to show a list of nearby teas as shown in the screenshots below.
This is a great feature that I use all the time. However, note the third screenshot. See how he recommended Dunkin’ as a possible tea venue? I don’t want to go to Dunkin’. I never, ever want to go there. Dunkin’ has terrible tea and for the most part has little to no seating. Plus it’s a huge channel – I’d much rather go to a small business and support the locals.
I’ve told Google Maps many times that I’m not interested in Dunkin’, but it still suggests it to me.
Now I’ve told Google Maps I’m not interested in Dunkin’ (see fourth and fifth screenshots). To do this, open Maps, tap your profile picture, then navigate to Settings > Manage your preferences. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change much for your search results. You will always see advertisements for Dunkin’ and you will always see Dunkin’ locations suggested to you. The only thing that changes is that you’ll see a lower match percentage next to the business – in Dunkin’ case, it’s a 5% match for me.
I want it to be a 0% match and I don’t want to see it in my results anymore. Why can’t I do this, Google?
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I can block Google News results, why can’t I block businesses?
C. Scott Brown/Android Authority
In the Google News app, you can block entire sources. Let’s say I don’t want to see stories from a site called “The Best Dunkin’ Blog”. I can find a story from this source in the News app, click the overflow icon, and press “Hide all stories”. Boom: I will never see an article from “The Best Dunkin’ Blog” again.
This feature is there because Google understands that you may not trust certain news sources or just don’t like them. Why can’t he understand that we don’t like/trust some companies either?
The inability to block businesses in Maps makes it a less useful app.
Of course, I know the answer to this question: money. Google does not generate direct ad revenue from news sites, so there would never be a need to push an ad for a news page at you. Google Maps — and Google’s main source of income, search — rely on ads to make a profit. If I block Dunkin’ from my Maps search results, then Google would also have to block Dunkin’ ads, which would reduce its results. This is also why there is no official way to block sites from your searches in Google Search (although there are workarounds).
What do you think about unwanted suggestions in Google Maps?
While I understand the reasoning, this whole situation makes Maps less useful to me. I don’t want Dunkin’ in my search results, and I don’t want Chick-fil-A either. I will never go to a Home Depot again and I wish I never heard of Hobby Lobby again as long as I live. Maps would be a better product if I could tell it to stop suggesting that I should visit these businesses.