Google has been hard at work on refining the experience with Google Maps lately, and the company has released several silent updates, some of which brought a little bit more than the typical bug fixes and performance optimizations under the hood.
Only a couple of weeks ago, Google officially started updating Google Maps with traffic flow information, a feature borrowed from Waze navigation app (which the company owns as well).
A few days later, it was discovered that Google Maps got another quiet update, this time bringing a new square indicator that was supposed to highlight certain locations on the map.
Often referred to as ads and used to provide businesses and other key points of interest with a little bit more exposure, these new indicators are now rolling out to users across the world without an official announcement.
And now it looks there’s more to come to Google Maps on mobile devices. A new indicator icon that looks like a brown marker with a red circle in the middle is now showing up for some, albeit for the time being, it’s not exactly clear what its purpose actually is.
Some believe it’s a marker that shows personalized recommendations for locations on the map using various information, including places that you’ve previously visited using Google Maps. Others claim these are just places they have already been to, so right now, only Google appears to be the one that can tell exactly what the purpose of the brown marker is supposed to be.
Just like in the case of the other features mentioned above, the roll-out appears to be taking place in stages, so only some users out there are actually seeing them. The brown marker doesn’t seem to be available on Google Maps on my iPhone and Android devices, not even when checking out the locations where it shows up for others, so there’s a chance it’s indeed a personalized recommendation that is displayed occasionally based on criteria we’re yet to figure out.
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