Google Maps Changes

I’m not sure exactly when this happened, but the web-based Google Maps service has changed quite a bit. I’ve built a custom map including the routes of most hikes and added about 100 embedded maps to this hiking blog over the last 3 years. Now, it appears that all the embedded maps are broken.

In my testing I discovered that, if you’re logged in with a Google account on another tab in the same browser, then the old embedded maps are still visible. If you’re an anonymous visitor, you get an ugly “this content cannot be displayed in a frame” error.

One lesson learned is that web-based service providers can and do change their service whenever they want to. Free service providers, especially, have no obligation to maintain the service. This is no surprise, really, but a good reminder.

It also makes me think of the concept “if you’re getting a service for free, then in fact your’re not the customer–you’re the product being sold.” I wonder how this concept might apply in the context of Google Maps.

I did expect that Google, being as large as it is, would be a stable service provider. I guess that I was wrong about that.

Perhaps, I’ll switch to a system of using JPG images to illustrate my hike routes, instead of interactive embedded maps. The jpg could still link out to Google Maps. Pages would load faster. It will take awhile to go back and change all the old posts.

Hmmm, I wonder how long YouTube will be free. That can’t last forever, either.

Screenshot of Sample Error:
Sample Error from embedded Google Map

If you click on the “open this content in a new window” link:
another sample error screenshot

UPDATE 1/18/2015:
The day after I reported that all my embedded maps were broken, I noticed that they were working again. However, I’m still having difficulty figuring out how to embed new custom maps with the desired location centered in the view. Also, when Internet Explorer (v9 32-bit on Win 7) renders the page, it erroneously jumps down to the embedded map. I’m glad this is just a personal blog and not my livelihood.