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Google Maps tests new pop-up ads that give you an unnecessary detour (Update)

The ad reportedly appears while driving, which could cause distractions.

Published onJuly 8, 2024

Google Maps GPS Nagivation stock photo
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

Update: July 8, 2024 (4:35 PM ET): A Google spokesperson has reached out to Android Authority and provided the following statement:

Promoted pins in navigation are not new – they let people see relevant ads for businesses like gas stations, restaurants, and stores along their route. To avoid driver distraction, these ads do not pop up, expand only if they’re tapped on, and disappear quickly after a short time.

Original article: July 8, 2024 (11:07 AM ET): Google Maps is testing a new ad format that could cause distractions while driving. It brings up a pop-up notification during navigation that covers the bottom half of the screen with an unnecessary detour suggestion.

Anthony Higman on X (formerly Twitter) recently spotted the new ad format during their commute (h/t Barry Schwartz on X). According to Higman, the ad popped up while passing a Royal Farms gas station, even though they did not search for a gas station or convenience store while setting their destination.

The ad has a Sponsored tag at the top of the card, followed by the name of the location, its review rating, and the estimated arrival time. It also includes two buttons to add it as a stop or cancel the suggestion.

Google appears to have borrowed this ad format from Waze, which has delivered similar ads for quite some time. User reports dating back to 2018 reveal that the banner ads in Waze popped up at the top of the screen while driving, but some say the ads only appeared while they were stationary.

At the moment, it is not clear if Google plans to take the safer approach and display ads only when the vehicle is stationary. We’ve reached out to the company for a comment and we’ll let you know as soon as we have more details.

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