No Joke: Google Maps Brings Back “Search Nearby” Feature

You’re going to hear a lot of rejoicing when this news spreads: Google has returned the “search nearby” feature to Google Maps. #celebrate!!!
Amidst all of today’s Google April Fools’ joke announcements, the company tweeted the feature’s resurrection earlier today.
After doing a search on Google Maps, you can click again in the search box to get “Search Nearby” to show up as an option.
Ever since Google relaunched Google Maps in February, users have been complaining about the disappearance of that particular feature. Here are a few tweets about it from just the past couple days:
The loss of “search nearby” feature, layout changes, & lack of ease w/methods of travel are awful. Just another bad map app now.
— Mark Hughes (@markhughesfilms) March 31, 2014

Whichever @googlemapmaker removed “search nearby” on @googlemaps is missing a soul. Honestly, I don’t know why you got rid of #bestfeature
— Chris Harcum (@ChrisHarcum) March 31, 2014

looking for alternate mapping apps – google removing ‘search nearby’ was a disaster
— geets (@geetsf) March 29, 2014

Technically speaking, the ability to search around specific locations never went away. After doing a search in the new Google Maps, you could do a follow-up search like “hotels” or “restaurants” or whatever, and Google would default to showing search results near the location that you’d previously searched. But Google did a poor job of communicating that, and it wasn’t nearly obvious enough for users to figure out on their own. With that in mind, and given the vocal criticism Google’s received (on Twitter and in Google’s help forums), today’s move was inevitable.

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