To review or not review — Google Maps removes ability to save drafts

Google Maps app icon on iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Coming in July, Google Maps will be phasing out the ability to save drafts of reviews. This is an interesting move, considering Google Maps' new AI tools rely on user reviews to feed the algorithm and help people find everything from a new restaurant to hard-to-find EV charging stations.

As noticed by Android Police, Google sent an email to customers stating that drafts would be deleted on July 16. The notification states that draft reviews will no longer be supported on Google Maps, and existing drafts will be deleted. The notice was sent to users who have multiple unpublished reviews on Maps.

We tested it on our phones and in Google Chrome. It appears that Google has already removed the ability to save new drafts. Anything we saved already is still there, though.

In its notice, Google offered tips for affected individuals to save their drafts. As it turns out, Maps won’t let you download drafts. Instead, as recommended by Google, users have to go to the Google Takeout site, select Maps and follow the instructions to get their data.

Google did not offer a reason for the change. However, the company had already removed support for automatic draft saves in Maps.

With this change, Google Maps requires reviewers to write everything down all at once. There is no option to leave a review unfinished. If you really need to step away, there's always the classic: leave the tab open, and hope Chrome doesn’t auto-update on you.

Again, it feels like a surprising move considering Google AI's reliance on reviews. It would be better for users to have time to consider their words before hitting publish. However, perhaps Google is trying to force people to publish so that the reviews get into their algorithm for the AI recommendations, or not enough people are saving review drafts to justify the backend.

Google Maps has added some great new features lately, like the entrance indicator and the recent 3D Maps for navigation. Still, it would be nice if they stopped removing features like drafts and Driving Mode.

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Scott Younker
West Coast Reporter

Scott Younker is the West Coast Reporter at Tom's Guide. He covers all the tech news that comes across his desk.