Google Maps Changed Its General Color Scheme and the Internet Is Not Happy About It

Why did the Google Maps app change colors? Many users have noticed a significant change to its color scheme and want to change it back.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author

Nov. 21 2023, Published 12:09 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Google Maps recently changed the color scheme within the app.
  • The changes were first being tested earlier in August 2023.
  • The new colors have received considerable backlash.
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When you've been using an app for a while, you'll almost certainly notice when things change. Sometimes, dev teams will roll out big changes with mixed results like Snapchat does so often with Bitmoji. Other times, it'll be as egregious as completely changing the name of a widely-used app after you completely bungle its ownership like Elon Musk did with X (formerly Twitter).

But for many, even small changes can cause a stir among folks who use it quite often.

For instance, take Google Maps. The popular GPS app is used by many for long driving trips or simply navigating your way to that one city bar that everyone wants you to meet at for a given happy hour. For an app as popular as this one, folks are definitely going to notice even cosmetic changes.

In 2023, Google Maps began rolling out color changes to its classic layout, and the internet is not pleased with them. Here's what you should know.

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Google Maps changed its color layout and folks are less than happy about it.

Starting in late 2023, Google Maps began changing the color scheme for its in-app maps. According to sources like 9to5Google, the dev team had been testing these new palettes for their maps as early as August 2023. They were officially rolled out for users starting later that year in November.

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The changes may not sound substantial, but they are to anyone who uses the app often. For instance, the color of water has been lightened considerably from its darker blue. Roads on the map have been completely changed from white with gray outlines to simply gray. If you're used to seeing forested areas in your app, they've been altered from green to a noticeably darker green.

Popular apps are no strangers to significant changes, so it's difficult to pinpoint why Google Maps would change its colors. Some suggest that they were made to make the app look more similar to Apple Maps.

Nevertheless, the new colors have already earned some backlash from frequent users. One person on X (formerly Twitter) said that "the bright colors and low contrast are breaking my brain."

Another person claimed, "The previous scheme [made it] impossible to see single track roads and now I don't even know what is a road."

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Unfortunately, the new colors are here to stay.

If you want to change your colors back to the previous color scheme, you're unfortunately out of luck. If the new update ends up on your phone, there currently isn't anything you can do to try and change it back.

The best thing you can do is avoid downloading any updates from Google Maps in the meantime, but it's highly unlikely that something as simple as a color change will earn any dev response, regardless of its user backlash.

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