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I recall from my time in Google Geo years ago that the idea of integrating Search and Maps was a big part of the "New Maps" release that happened around 2014. The rumor I heard was that someone (possibly even Larry himself) wanted to be able to have interactive maps directly on the search results page, so that the navigation from a search query to a map wouldn't involve even a page reload. So the big Maps frontend rewrite actually ended up merging MFE into GWS, the web search frontend server. I recall seeing maps hosted at around that time, but I don't know if that was ever launched fully or if it was just an experiment.

In any case, though, my understanding is that the technical capacity for this has existed for nearly 10 years now, just behind a configuration setting. So it's possible that this change is just a code cleanup. It's also possible that someone is trying to increase the percentage of searches that have location information, that doesn't seem terribly far-fetched either, and I can imagine lots of ways people could try to rationalize it as actually benefiting users. (Whether it actually does benefit users is of course debatable.)


It is absolutely bizarre to me how half-assed Google is with integrating its products.

I have a week of events coming up in Google Calendar each with a different event location. Why can't I see a map of all those event locations alongside the calendar with all the same event details listed? Why can't I associate a Google Calendar event with a specific album or set of photos in Google Photos and see those in the map and calendar as well?

This is why I'm building with my brother. We have all these capabilities of visualizing data on the web, yet no one has actually put them together in a convenient and consumer friendly way to visualize any type of information together in one place.

All these big tech companies seem to just give up on any kind of significant innovation as soon as they reach a certain level of monopoly on their market. Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, Google, etc. I can think of a dozen significant feature experiments they could try that would make my daily life better using those tools yet they don't.


> It is absolutely bizarre to me how half-assed Google is with integrating its products

The answer can be summed up in one word: "privacy".

There are two forces at play here. One side wants privacy. When they give data to Google Calendar, they don't want Google Maps or Ads know about it. The other side (your opinion above) wants more integration between services.

In this political climate, the privacy side has an edge. This means if Google Photos want to access data on Google Calendar to provide the integration you asked above, they will have to jump through multiple quarters of privacy reviews, with a very high odd of being shutdown.

> All these big tech companies seem to just give up on any kind of significant innovation as soon as they reach a certain level of monopoly on their market

After I see how the sausages are made, I think claims like these are naive. It's worth learning more about the factors at play before criticizing something. More often than not, the agents are acting pretty rationally based on the situation.


The privacy argument doesn’t make sense to me. The addresses are already in Google Calendar. They don’t need to be saved into a different service to be viewed anonymously in Google Maps. You can already do it in Google Calendar for one event/address at a time.

Yes there are business/internal-politics reasons why some obvious features or experimentation doesn’t happen, but those aren’t necessarily good reasons beyond short term benefit to specific individuals at a company.

But I do think some of it can generally be blamed on large companies losing their ability to be nimble due to the inherent friction of the politics and logistics that build up as an organization grows.


> privacy

Do Not Give google credit for privacy.

first, showing maps for a location it is already showing on the screen... the data is already all there. it is pure and simple calendar team didn't want to bother using maps team's api. nothing else. nobody had a meeting and decided against it because of user privacy.

second, no matter the product, the only integration all of them MUST have is to both advertising and profile. those two internal apis respectively serve ads against your profile (ssp) and add events to your profile to later target ads.

so no, absolutely nothing on google deserve the privacy argument.


    The answer can be summed up in one word: "privacy"
I don't understand this.

Once Google has my data, how does it affect my "privacy" if Google Service A shares it with Google Service B?

I'm somewhat privacy conscious, but I don't understand the concern there. I assume that once I give them my data, they're already doing whatever with it internally.


IMO you’re spot on. The catch being that between showing an ad and matching photo locations, the former has a near straight impact on the bottomline while the latter is murkier. When both are going through reviews, that’s a lot of weight difference in the arguments and we’ll see more of one that the other.


After I see how the sausages are made, I think claims like these are naive. It's worth learning more about the factors at play before criticizing something. More often than not, the agents are acting pretty rationally based on the situation.

All of these concerns could be trivially addressed by leaving them up to the user. Add the necessary controls to the user account page, pick default settings biased in favor of privacy, and allow users to change them if they prefer.


I don't think privacy has anything to do with it. Google Maps doesn't need to capture any user data to implement OP's suggestion. Google Calendar just needs to render a map with a set of locations marked on it using Google Maps. It doesn't need to tell Google Maps what or who the locations are for. This is something Google Calendar should already be able to accomplish using a public API. All other aspects of the feature could be implemented as part of the Google Calendar service without any further integration with Google Maps.

Further, I don't think users are generally against services using the information - which the user has presumably already provided intentionally - to better serve them. The problem is when that information is shared with third parties or used for purposes which are not obviously in the users' best interests. IMO, any user data stored externally should be subject to an opt-in permissions system which strictly defines how the data can be used. That doesn't stop companies like Google from being able to offer me useful services that I might actually be interested in. The notion that privacy discourages innovation is just silly.


It's amazing to me that people have already forgotten that Google had in fact already successfully done that with Google Inbox. It's not that they weren't able to do it.

It's that in their infinite wisdom they shut it down. Just like they shut down hangouts in their infinite wisdom.


An example of poor google integration that bugs me from time to time - when you search for a geographic feature, the info panel shows a great preview map with the outline of the feature. E.g.

If you click into google maps, the outline is gone. Searching "Rhine River" just puts a marker at one point along the river.


This is not the case for me. I just now searched in mobile Chrome for "Lakeview Chicago" and the mini-map static image has a purple outline around the neighborhood. Clicking on that took me to Google maps with the neighborhood outlined in a red dotted line (which is harder to see, but obscures less of the other features/labels on the map). This was on Android, in the maps app, just now, but I've seen the same thing in a desktop browser.


FWIW, OpenStreetMap can do it. I went to, entered "Rhine" into the search and clicked on the first result. Deeplink:


oh wow, it's actually worse for me: there's no marker at all, just a map of western europe:,7.87...


Innovation, oh my, sometimes it feels like the fat ones (and, by proxy, everyone else) are living in some alternate fantasy world where the mantra "you're not gonna need it" is taken to the extreme, so they're not even trying.

The pendulum should swing back to complex and more complicated interfaces sometime — but right now these are the dark times where, for example, Netflix, this huge, popular movie and show library, doesn't even have a way to find out exactly what movies with some actor or director it has available. It's hard for me to wrap my head around that.

Your project does look useful and on point though!


The rumor/theory I have heard about Netflix is that increasing discoverability too much would allow people to see two negative traits of Netflix: How often things come and go from the platform (which other apps like Criterion Collection embrace), and just how limited their library actually is at a given time.

Scroll through recommendations. It looks like they have hundreds of great movies for you to watch! And yes, technically they do. But look how many times they try suggesting the same movies in different categories, inflating the view in a way to make the library seem bigger. One movie might show up "Because you liked comedy..." then "Because you watched <comedy movie>" then "Light-hearted movies".

TLDR money and masking their poor library quality.


Your app looks beautiful. This is something that I've wanted to build some time. Would love to help out if possible.


This makes perfect sense product wise, if I'm searching "bakery" on my mobile phone I probably want the ones around me and not the generic location-agnostic google search of it, just like I would if I was searching on map. Matter of fact, this is actually something I do a couple times a month, search then clic the maps tab to see localized results then from them click the website result to find their webpage.

As a techie I hate any direct change to the user-agnostic absolute search, but as a user I get it.


> if I'm searching "bakery" on my mobile phone I probably want the ones around me

And yet for me, even in google maps on my iphone, when I search for bakery, the first one is almost always one that's ~40 miles away, and the closest one is almost always the second in the list. The rest of the list is definitely not sorted descending by distance. If I've searched for a _particular_ ABC bakery, I get other bakeries commingled in the list even if I know damn well there are other ABC bakeries closer than those.


The first one is the one that put the most coins into the AdWords slot, I'd guess.


This behavior works exactly the way you would expect in Apple Maps. A search for a bakery returns relevant nearby results.

The fact that Google doesn’t see the blatantly obvious problem, or that they try to argue that the users are wrong is a textbook case of why Apple has been doing OK in the market downturn while Google’s business continues to crash. Apple prioritizes their core products and human interface design, Google prioritizes short-term (advertising) revenue, while neglecting their core products in favor of the latest shiny thing.


I live in the UK. I recently searched for “pizza” and the top result was in Thailand.


Somehow DuckDuckGo has taken this to absurd extremes. Almost any search that doesn’t get many natural hits shows branches of my local government toward the bottom of the first page of results.


I have seen this too, also on bing. Not just government though, sometimes it manages to find a local house for sale instead.


What we see is likely the attempt to squeeze even more juice from advertising over which Google virtually have a monopoly. Google is trying to continue its exponential growth while relying on selling advertisements. The market had already been saturated and optimised to crazy levels. Smart thing would be to expand to other sources of revenue, but other projects inside Google fail. As they are failing to compete internally for resources against that crazily optimised source of revenue.

It is doubtful that Google can overcome that internally. Perhaps regulators should break up the monopoly in advertisement and search.


> if I'm searching "bakery" on my mobile phone I probably want the ones around me

Only when you're using a phone? Only if you're not at home? What if you want to find out what a bakery is?

(Apologies for rapid fire, I'm not having a go at you, just curious)


> Only when you're using a phone?

No, eg when I'm at the office, and we talk about where to go eat and I type restaurant, or I need a new stapler and I type office supply, etc ...

> Only if you're not at home?

Not really, eg "movie theater" or "flower shop" come to mind for things I would request while at home

> What if you want to find out what a bakery is?

I would type what is a bakery or define bakery ?

I'm a long time tech user, I miss the days of keyword centric search as I felt I could more easily communicate to the search engine what I wanted, but let's be honest those days have passed, most people type sentence and thus the engine interpret sentences


There isn't a necessity for an "or"

One could show a map preview of local results, which can be expanded as well as generic search results below/aside/...


It gets really annoying when you are trying to search for some specific term in English and google keep guessing that you wanted something that sounds similar in your native tongue.


This is achievable with geolocation based on IP address, which is how it works on, e.g. a desktop web browser.


Not in my country - unless your ISP is in the business of selling customer PII to advertisers (coughvirgincough) your IP geolocation will often be a completely different city.

Of course, personally if I wanted to search for nearby bakeries on my phone I'd have just opened the google maps app....


Less than half the population has decent geolocation by IP. Most people the IP address will only identify the country or even nothing at all.

Not much use if you want to search bakery's.


"Achievable" is quite charitable from my experience. With the previous ISP I would get located in a city some 2000kms away, sometimes the scam ads would detect my location as null.

Maybe it's more effective in places like the US.


funny how that works. I never ever allow location access to anything Google or any website for that matter, and have a muscle memory to hit deny when the browser prompts me. The other day I was searching something and then clicking my bookmarked Google News and suddenly all news were UK specific, and my search results fro "heatpumps" were are UK companies and products.. I was confused until I noticed that my work VPN chose a UK endpoint because the NL one where I am had higher latencies. So, Google heavily tailors the results based on where it thinks you're at. Also, I was delighted to know that inspire all the tracking Google probably does on me, it was easily fooled to think I was in the UK :-)


IP-based location is mostly usable for country. I've rarely found it gets the city right, often it doesn't even get the county right.


I have links to in my IRC logs dating back from June 2014, so this absolutely tracks.

I actually remember being launched at IO in 2014 -- the presentation had a broken link in it for the new version of Maps, and a few of us DoS SRE watching the livestream were able to hack together a config change in a few minutes to fix it without waiting for a urlmap push :)


> It's also possible that someone is trying to increase the percentage of searches that have location information, that doesn't seem terribly far-fetched either, and I can imagine lots of ways people could try to rationalize it as actually benefiting users.

Could you speak more to how this kind of thing figuratively plays out? With privacy on most of our (tech-focused) minds, I’m mostly curious how openly an initiative like this is/would be carried out. Would you imagine it as a buried lede or as a very transparent, explicit OKR?


It's easy to rationalize it as benefiting the users, so I'd imagine it's an explicit OKR, maybe even a few levels up in the org.

Like, one thing I've wanted on occasion is the ability to search for brick and mortar stores in a given radius who have the thing I want -- either because I want to physically inspect it before committing to a purchase or because for whatever reason the time/cost of shipping wouldn't be practical.

That sort of query is hard for Google to serve right now though for reasons including the lack of relevant location information in both the search results and the queries whose user behavior would help drive relevance rankings for those location-specific results.

Location information is a bit of a double-edged sword too though, even ignoring privacy concerns. I have to spoof my location and change my search language to get some results because of aggressive filtering happening behind the scenes. If a given query doesn't match Google's current understanding of the user then the right results existing in the corpus often won't imply that the user is able to find them with _any_ search operators.


With the document policy changes over the last 5 years, most decisions are now very opaque. Google TTLs everything except Docs and code history & reviews, at this point: emails, chats, bug reports, ...

There's probably a tech debt focused OKR for this work, but some other teams probably has OKRs that indirectly benefit from the data, and they're probably providing staffing support, tied to the tech debt OKR. OKRs are for telling people why you're great, if you're at the bottom of the pyramid, and for giving the rank-and-file some direction, if you're at the top. The top level OKRs are usually very precise and very vague at the same time.

So there's probably an OKR in search to improve the quality of the location signals. It can be vague on how. Plus, having more and better data filters into your downstream systems, so even without an OKR for the data you know it will make your models more powerful.


Funny, because there is a crummy form of Google maps present into he SERP, and it behaves completely differently from actual Google maps. It constantly annoys me, usually when searching for a business, that something that looks exactly like google maps, in Google, doesn't behave the same as google maps.


100%! I always ascribe it to some PM somewhere, but when I click on the "search maps" I would _love_ to be taken to the "real Google Maps".

The search maps is just a terrible experience, half implemented, doesn't do what I want, even down to little things.

My hack is to pick directions, which will get me to Google Maps, then cancel directions, this loses all state, but you're still in the location you want and can usually then just click the business you were looking for.


I remember the spiffy demo where the thumbnail in search results morphed into the full Maps UI without reloading.

But unification had started even earlier than that. Pretty much since Larry became CEO again, he pushed this mantra of "One Google", which brought the infamous Kennedy redesign across all services, as well as more of them available under the host (e.g. maps as discussed here, but also flights and more). One of the ideas behind the latter was that you had to log into your Google account just once, which gradually made it all the way to YouTube(!). I vaguely recall other factors, such as compensating for the increased latency from going HTTPS everywhere, but also discussions about securing and hardening cookies.

As far as I know, has been around the entire time, but perhaps now it might be simply the canonical URL in a larger number of cases.


This reminds me of how Google integrated Maps into Calendar as a sidebar a while ago, a move that I absolutely hated. And instead of providing a preference setting to disable it, you have to “hide” the sidebar in a non-intuitive way [0]. I had to search to figure it out.



This is a fantastic example of motivated reasoning. This "change" (which apparently isn't even new) can have so many different reasons, some of which are less harmful and some of which are probably worse (privacy-wise) than the one mentioned here. There is no indication that re/mis-using permissions is specifically what they wanted to do here, there is also no example of them doing it right now. Don't get me wrong, there is also no evidence that this isn't the real reason and that they wouldn't do that in the future. But the blog post basically list a single symptom and jumps right to the one conclusion that fits what the author expects.


1. The change does exist (although it apparently has been live for quite some time in some regions at least)

2. The change does have the effect of Google gaining more permissions (and subsequently more data) than previously

3. The author assumes that (2) is the (main) reason why (1) was done in the first place

Regardless of whether (3) is correct or completely wrong - and regardless of whether the author truly believes (3), or only uses it as a rhetorical trick to increase the controversy (and therefore the reach) of their post - both (1) and (2) remain fact.

And (2) is the actual problem here - regardless of whether it was done intentionally by Google or not.


Upvoted, this looks more correct than what I wrote.


As for (3) - there's no proof either way, as you already said.

But collecting more of that data which their marketing business makes it's profits from, is likely to have a positive effect on their bottom line.

And since the change already has been live for a while in some regions, it seems likely that Google is well aware of how much impact this change has on their revenue.

You decide for yourself if money is or isn't the reason why a big corporation like Google would do something like that.


I think your original comment was spot on. The reply above didn't really add anything imo.


> 1. The change does exist (although it apparently has been live for quite some time in some regions at least)

Pretty sure I’ve been experiencing this change for many years at this point.


> The change does have the effect of Google gaining more permissions (and subsequently more data)

There's a huge logic gap here. Obtaining more permissions doesn't at all imply obtaining more data when it's caused by an incidental change. Maybe the permissions aren't being used outside of the Maps context, or maybe it doesn't matter because the data was already be known.


It’s true that we can’t really know whether Google is exploiting these expanded permissions to collect more data unless we have some insider information.

However, it’s generally very easy to predict what a company is going to do by observing their business model and incentive structure. In Google’s case, collecting as much data as possible is a major part of their business, so without more information, there’s no good reason to assume they won’t do it.


Google search asks for geolocation. So the permission absolutely is being used.


It may not be the only reason, but you’re being too generous if you don’t think this was at least one of the reasons they did it.

Other than some abstract “branding” campaign, I cannot really see many other reasons why they would be doing this.

And as someone who worked in adtech in the past, it was very well known that Google used their domain as their tracking cookie domain as it’s nearly impossible for adblockers to just block without crippling other functionality. So they even have a history of using precisely these types of techniques.


> but you’re being too generous if you don’t think this was at least one of the reasons they did it

If you consider it absolutely unthinkable that it was not one of the reasons, it's you who is being too generous. Unconsidered side effects occur plentiful and all the time.


This is cute, but 100% no. In this case, those involved in the decision were aware of the privacy implications. Whether this was discussed openly, or whether the change was made 'pass-the-buck' style, it doesn't really matter. The association of privacy settings with domains is a well-established basic function in the browser.


> If you consider it absolutely unthinkable that it was not one of the reasons, it's you who is being too generous.

The person you are replying to didn't use the word "unthinkable" or even imply it.

I think you are being either incredibly naive or disingenuous if you believe an adtech giant like google doesn't factor changes to data gathering into every single decision they make.


My default mode is to trust everyone until they break my trust. Now that I am old, I have realized that trusting everyone by default is not a good idea, especially big tech.

In cases like this, I think it is better to assume malice, even if we are proved wrong later. This is not our fault, this is big tech screwing with us repeatedly for years, with no shame or conscience


The way I see it, people deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their motivations but corporations don't.


Exactly. If you trust people you will often be rewarded by friendship and future help. If you trust cooportations they just exploit that to maximize shareholder profit with no value to me.


Perhaps you mean persons deserve the benefit of the doubt? People seems to be the root problem.

I expect there is no difference between an individual and a corporation operated by a sole individual. If one is trustworthy, they will remain equally trustworthy if they happen to have a stock certificate in hand. The corporation isn't able to act autonomously. It acts with equivalency to the person it is represented by.

Large corporations, involving people, is where communication breaks down, which leads to unintended consequences that wouldn't necessarily be realized if an individual was acting alone. When you have people there are bound to be competing interests created in the confusion and it is not always a straightforward answer who is best to honour. Even where intentions are pure humans are bound to make mistakes in their choosing.


Also, by most reasonable metrics, Google broke that trust long time ago anyway.


Even if it's entirely innocuous at present, that's still little better. It would signal modern-day Google engineers lack the nuanced understanding and user-first deliberation of their predecessors.

Given the breadth of services the company provides, a user ought to be able to restrict the permission to the scope of the maps tool.


I think the grand master of user tracking and the developer of the web's most used browser knows exactly what they are doing.


Google is huge. You'd be surprised how something that's common knowledge in one team is completely unknown to other teams.


Hanlons Razor is a fallacy on it's face and I'm so tired of the incompetence excuse for actors who are repeatedly bad.


I doubt that a URL change is the solely decision of the maps team.


bro, data is money and those corporates extract as much as they can. don't try to reason that google would not be interested in exactly that. one does not have to find a specific evidence for exactly this scenario in my opinion. this evidence likely might never emerge, while the spying definitely will happen. otherwise you would need to come up with a huge scenario where they actually farm a ton of benefits by doing this change, because a move like that you don't "just do for a better experience".


Cannot agree more. Money is the most important if not the sole driver of decision making in those large organizations.


> But the blog post basically list a single symptom and jumps right to the one conclusion that fits what the author expects.

That conclusion isn't wrong though. Your comment basically claims author is twisting facts but the conclusion remains that giving permission to geotrack does give permission to geotrack.

"Pinky swear I won't enforce that clause" is not reassurance enough.


They've promised nothing, to boot. Google does not deserve the benefit of the doubt here.


The real reason or intention isn't that important, compared to the outcomes of the change. The author correctly evaluated one of those outcomes and the respective implications.

Given Google's track record, I think it is a sensible evaluation of the situation.


Funny thing is, it depends on your threat model.

Using for all its services protect the user from being spied by external actors such as ISP because everything is hidden behind HTTPS.

Whereas, with, external actors knows that you are using service XXX.


The whole "threat model" thinking is useful for security, but I don't think it translates well to privacy and data sharing consent matters.


I disagree on the former, but I agree on the later, technology is not a good substitute for consent.

Regarding the privacy:

If you are using a VPN to protect your privacy, then you are effectively transferring your trust from your ISP to your VPN provider. The VPN provider is your new ISP. So you have to make sure you trust the VPN provider more than your ISP.


It is a matter of trust, but by choosing a VPN you are not limited in your options by your geographical location as is the case with an ISP.

In my town there are 2 ISP I can choose to trust, whereas with VPN I can choose to trust from a much greater selection.


I don't use VPN when I'm on my home ISP but I do when I'm someplace where I don't control the gateway. My VPN is on a vultr VPS I control (in as much as I can control a VPS), and I do trust vultr (or digitalocean or any of the major VPS providers) more than I trust, let's say, the person who set up the wifi at the holiday inn.


The threat here is google.


If your threat is google, it would be wise not to use google in the first place.

As other mentioned, OSM is an alternative (not equivalent) of Google Maps.


If only there was a drop in replacement for Google Workspace… even if you use Fastmail for email you don’t have Google docs anymore and that’s a huge piece…


I’m pretty sure you can still identify specific services from trafic patterns. It is more expensive, but within reach for well funded actors.


Google could enable ESNI, if they wanted.


I presume they are talking about the DNS "leak". would result in a DNS request for so anyone monitoring DNS would know they are connecting to a google service but wouldn't know which one. would result in a DNS request that show they are connecting to and could presume they want some maps.

DoH (and ESNI on the server side) would fix it, but iirc Chrome (the most used browser) doesn't use DoH by default.


Chrome uses DoT, if you have configured one of the well-known resolvers that do support DoT. Otherwise, it respects your local settings.


> DoH (and ESNI on the server side) would fix it, but iirc Chrome (the most used browser) doesn't use DoH by default.

It would fix it for some specific circumstances. Since resolves differently than, you can ignore DNS and just look at TCP connections to tell what service is being talked to.


> iirc Chrome (the most used browser) doesn't use DoH by default.

Last I checked, Linux was behind other platforms because there’s a lot of complex custom dns configuration that chrome (understandably) didn’t want to be accused of overriding/ignoring, but which isn’t all easily visible to the browser




Google poses a larger threat to most people I guess.


DNS over HTTPS is the solution here.


SNI is still in the plaintext.


It it still an improvement; you need to DPI the traffic then, which is more demanding than just logging 53/udp queries.




Doesn't change the fact that the SNI is sent in clear text.


As others have noticed, this is not a new move. For the past several years I've been accessing Google Maps simply by typing in and it has always redirected me to


Even more confusing and a regular cause of annoyance for me that's been ongoing for a while now is there's like a knockoff version of Google Maps built into Google search that it'll kick you into if you click a map from search results. e.g. you type "gyms near me" and it shows you a map in the search results, and you click it to expand. It's still at the domain and while you can zoom and pan around, there doesn't seem to be a way to arbitrarily jump into street view wherever you want, which I frequently want to do.

I'm constantly ending up in this view, fighting with it before remembering I need to go to real Google Maps and do my search again.


Same. It's so annoying and I feel like they do not always include the relevant info like the URL in that mode. Though looking now I did not find examples of that.


Funny, for me it’s the opposite. I always try to use the web view, and there’s an annoying pop up that redirects me to download Google maps. When I switch back into the web browser to go back to the web view, it auto redirects me to the app download again. Super annoying.


It's new for me as well. I hadn't seen before.


Also a great way to share cookies, avoid CORS, and probably a zillion other complexities that result from running on multiple subdomains.


Yeah, but do you want to bet that during the management call and the subsequent engineering call that made this decision, the main topic of discussion was the direct financial benefit from improved tracking?

We'll never know, but if we could find out, say 1 year from now, I'd bet 100:1 that was the main driver.


Wow...i didn't for even a second think it was anything other than a way to get a financial benefit. Kudos to you for not be as cynical as me.


The 2 things aren't mutually exclusive. Because it reduces complexity you will likely see a financial benefit from the cost of the engineering team alone. Having managed an infrastructure with a ton of subdomains I can say that it's almost certainly in their best interest to standardize the domain across all tools at least for engineering. Your data is just an added bonus :)




It's funny for browser vendor to push those "security" features, only to work around them in their own products


I actually find that somewhat reassuring, similarly to a Google employee criticising the security practices of a Google-operated certificate authority in public[1]: it demonstrates that the team responsible for instituting security policies in the interest of users still has some autonomy.

[1] e.g.


And to increase XSS blast radius!


thought they have moved to a while ago. Tracking would still be possible over 2 domain, but then google would have to do a bit of ETL operations. Guess this will save some more engineering.


Genuine question. Is it reasonable as a user to expect data collected by Google via to not be shared with other Google applications e.g.

I'd have thought data collected on any of their domains would be meshed/merged behind the scenes where it suits them to do so?


I think the concern is less about other Google businesses having access to maps data as you suggest.

It’s more about the fact that using non map Google services on will not prompt asking for location service permissions, if they’ve been granted when prompted on already.

Users may not want location to be collected for searches, but are okay with the privacy tradeoff for it being collected when using maps.


I think the concern is more about when Google is able to collect said data, not whether it's shared or not.

I don't have location enabled for Google maps in the browser, but if I did, then presumably Google could collect that data also when I'm just searching for a website.


But isn’t collected/shared inherently the same thing here?


No, what they are talking about is all Google properties (eg Google search) now being able to collect your location every time you use them, if you granted permission for maps to get your location.

So it’s now not possible to block location for search, and grant it to maps (at least using the standard browser domain permissions model).


Do you mean:

- is it reasonable for a user to expect that Google will collect all bits of information about them, because Google isn't prevented from doing that?


- is it reasonable for a society to allow Google (and competitors) to do this?

I think the answers are respectively yes and no.


The different Google Apps surely rat you out to each other.

But now will know where he is when he browses it, not just when he uses Google Maps.


They can already join your activity across everything. This is about access and collection. So if they move to, they will have access to all browser permissions you gave or


I'm ok with sharing my location with maps (and therefore google) WHILE USING MAPS. Not when I'm reading my emails, or searching for something on the web.


It could be tricky with permissions on different users: for instance you authorize to track your location while logged as user A.

You logout and switch to user B to look at another Google service, but is still allowed to get your location, and will stick it to user B, which is something you might not have wanted. This didn't happen with the previous domains, so could be a surprise.


I think it is reasonable to expect Google to share the data and get sued for it, because it isn't reasonable.


Oh having though about it I agree, I just think we're probably a minority.

As others have pointed out the line has been blurred between search and maps so far that maps has search embedded, and search has maps embedded. A lot users of Google search likely expect results to be location aware without realising what privacy has been eroded to enable that.


Its reverse for translate. redirects to


I can understand why: Translate is the only service that works in China. Countries with censorship laws can easily choose what they allow.


I suspect this may more be to do with large organisations (and equally foreign governments) wanting to block Google translate, since it can be used as a proxy in some cases.


They don't work in China anymore.

And when they worked, the domain was instead.


...this redirect has been in place for years. Honestly maybe even a decade at this point, it's been a long time.


I've also been using etc for many years, can confirm not new at all


It's a very strange move indeed. implies an application lives there, far better than being on the root domain.

It also means that when you start typing, you'd get all your history searchable related to maps, although arguably that's useless.

I can't think of a reason why this would be a good technical move for Google (ignoring the don't do evil thingie), other than simplifying... certificates? Less lines in the firewall config... I'm stretching here, help me understand.


Other things: slightly simpler external DNS surface, probably tiny speed improvements because users only need to have the IP of, not one for maps, one for www, one for whateverelse.

More possibility for connection re-use, as you'd only need to have a connection open for, not one for each service.

And security wise: ISPs can now only see that you're accessing something at google, but not which service exactly. If they also bring in into the fold, that would make it harder to see whether you have an account or not.


True. I’m sure being a beyondcorp company they can’t figure out how to add dns entries. Those google guys really should learn more about the internet and it’s technologies.

I don’t buy the simplicity argument for a second. The infrastructure exists, has existed for many years, and is not particularly exotic in the world.

The only thing that matters to a surveillance and advertising company is surveillance and advertising. You don’t need to overthink this one.


That’s a rather simplistic take; a company that makes money by surveilling you as you use their products also must care about the quality of their products. If their products suck, fewer people will use them = fewer people to surveil = less money! So not all changes are necessarily directly in the service of surveillance.

Also, I don’t think your reply to the above comment was entirely fair; they didn’t say anything about adding DNS records, and also mentioned several other potential benefits of not using subdomains.


As you mention there are plenty of performance reasons to run everything under a single hostname. There's also one especially vital for Maps, it loads a tonne of resources and maps are used in various other services at Google. Now that caches are being siloed down to the host level, having all the resources accessible in a same-origin cache will save bandwidth and increase performance for users.


> "It's a very strange move indeed. implies an application lives there, far better than being on the root domain."

How does "" imply an application "lives there" any more than ""?

Technically speaking, "" is far superior to "" (check out the rest of the comments in this thread for examples: simpler DNS configuration, simpler certificate management, CORS, cookies, etc).


Technically speaking it goes around any security CORS and friends provide


> "Technically speaking it goes around any security CORS and friends provide"

CORS wasn't designed to "offer any security" in this specific scenario anyway.

By using "" they can simplify their systems (by not worrying caring about CORS).


Security is hard, money is easy. Simple choice!

ojr is simpler to type on a mobile phone and more consumer friendly, I’ve always used pattern, way easier to leverage autocomplete, type a g to autocomplete then if you are looking for flights type f and in 2-3 clicks you are on


Yeah, but or gets you there even faster.

dns segments are shown backwards for a reason. it was done so that the most specific part shows up first when searching for something.

I have to admit as a data structure snob. I vaguely wish it were the other way around, sigh, as much as I hate to admit it java classes got it right. I also have to admit it does not really matter that much.


    Privacy and intimacy,
    As we know it,
    Will be a memory,
    Among many to be passed down
    To those who never knew.
    Living in the pupil of one thousand eyes.


I was curious where this is from, and found it's from "1,000 Eyes" from Death.


From 1995 - prophetic, almost.


What a pleasant surprise! I hadn't listened to Symbolic in a while.


Are you missing a Not operator in that last line?


It's lyrics from a song - the last line sounds like a new sentence, so it's punctuation that I'm probably missing.

I've added it for clarity.


Has this not been the case for a while? I think I've been getting /maps for at least the past year.


Yep. Noticed when I didn't want to enable JS on the whole of Google's domain in μBlock Origin. I switch to another browser for this task alone—especially as some regions have incomplete data for OpenStreetMap


the /maps URL worked for a while, but I never noticed the redirect from (but I wasn't paying attention to that).




Note that Google before can just have an iframe to load to get your location info. Don’t change much in term of privacy.