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Google could discontinue another Maps feature very soon (APK teardown)

The ability to follow places could go away from January 2025, according to a deprecation notice found within the app.

Published onJune 19, 2024

Google Maps GPS Nagivation stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • Strings within the latest Google Maps beta indicates that Google could soon deprecate the Followed Places feature.
  • The feature was launched back in 2018 to allow users to receive news from places and businesses listed on Google Maps.
  • The deprecation is planned for January 2025, according to the strings.

Google Maps is one of the top recommended free apps for Android users, thanks to how insanely useful it is. Maps is great not only for active navigation, but also serves as an excellent resource for discovery and recommendations. However, one can argue that Google Maps has reached some level of feature overload, with the app constantly throwing a lot of things at the wall to try and find out what sticks. Google could be looking at a feature cleanup, and one of the features that it could soon axe is the ability to follow places on its service.

An APK teardown helps predict features that may arrive on a service in the future based on work-in-progress code. However, it is possible that such predicted features may not make it to a public release.

Within Google Maps v11.134.0103 beta, we spotted strings referencing the deprecation of the Followed Places feature.

<string name="FOLLOWED_PLACES_DEPRECATION_BANNER">From Jan 2025, you'll no longer be able to see followed places on Maps. You can download your local followed places from the Maps section of Takeout now."</string>

As the strings note, Followed Places is being deprecated next year. Users will soon no longer see followed places on Google Maps. Those interested can download the data on local followed places from the Maps section of Takeout.

Followed Places in Google Maps was launched in 2018. Google described it as a way to easily receive news from places and businesses, such as events, offers, and other updates, in the For You tab. Businesses and places listed on Google Maps would have a “+ Follow” pill button under their name, letting users easily follow them for updates.

However, as Google Maps UI has progressed, the button has also grown out of favor. We aren’t sure when the button stopped appearing prominently, but looking at places and businesses around us, we could not locate the Follow button for them.

The feature is also no longer widely documented in Google Support documents. There is no documentation to be found on how to follow a business, and the Follow a Google Maps profile support document only features a section on unfollowing a business.

We’ve reached out to Google for a statement on the deprecation of the Followed Places feature. We’ll update this article if and when we hear back from them.

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