Debunked: No, Google Maps won't show you pop-up ads while you're driving (2024)

Home Tech

By Chris Smith

Published Jul 9th, 2024 6:50AM EDT

Debunked: No, Google Maps won't show you pop-up adswhile you're driving (2)

Image: Google

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

The worst place to see an ad of any kind is a navigation app like Google Maps. And the worst time to see such an ad is while using the app to navigate. Ads that pop up mid-drive are hardly helpful or safe for the driver. The last thing you want to do is pay attention to some advertisem*nt on the screen inviting you to add a detour to your trip to visit that location. I don’t know about you, but I’d be furious. I’d probably go out of my way to avoid that business, even if it were a company I actually liked.

That’s the kind of experience one Google Maps user seems to have had earlier this week, posting a screenshot of the ad that appeared on their screen while driving. But just as user backlash began to bubble, Google quickly responded to the complaint, saying that pop-up ads do not exist. Promoted pins in navigation are the type of ads that drivers might stumble upon while driving, but only if they tap on them.

Google Maps is a free Google product because ads pay for it. Google has to find ways to monetize its products, even navigation apps. Promoted pins are a way to do it.

X user Anthony Higman shared the following image showing such a promoted pin in Google Maps. He said that the ad popped up as he passed it:

Tech. Entertainment. Science. Your inbox.

Sign up for the most interesting tech & entertainment news out there.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms of Use and have reviewed the Privacy Notice.

Yo Check Out This Wild New Ad Format On The Google Maps App.

I Put In Directions Down The Shore And Then When I Passed This Gas Station This Royal Farms Ad Popped Up With "Add Stop"

I Didnt Type Anything In About Gas Or Food Or Anything? Anyone Know What Kind OF Ad Format This…

— Anthony Higman (@AnthonyHigman) July 5, 2024

The pop-up blocks a part of the screen, telling the user it’s a sponsored message. The driver can add the stop to their navigation or cancel. Again, this is an annoying experience to have in Google Maps. Your eyes should mostly be on the road rather than reading what’s on the screen.

Higman said he didn’t type anything about gas or food to prompt the appearance of the ad.

Thanks Ginny! Yeah I was just reading the help page on promoted pins. Although I did not tap anything, this ad just popped up as I was driving and following directions to my destination. It did disappear after 45 seconds to a minute. Full screenshot below.

— Anthony Higman (@AnthonyHigman) July 8, 2024

Google responded, saying that promoted pins aren’t new. But they should only expand if the user taps on them:

Hi Anthony, Promoted pins in navigation are not new – they let people see relevant ads for businesses like gas stations, restaurants, and stores along their route. To avoid driver distraction, these ads do not pop up, expand only if they’re tapped on, and disappear quickly after a short time.

The Google Maps user provided more details about his experience. Higman says he didn’t tap anything. The promoted pin popped up during driving and stayed on the screen for 45 seconds to a minute.

Google said this isn’t the expected behavior of the feature, suggesting that it might be some sort of glitch it has to fix. Or maybe Google was performing some kind of testing. Whatever the case, seeing ads while using a navigation app is certainly annoying.

As Android Police points out, Google might borrow location-based ads from Waze, its other popular navigation app. But those ads appear on the screen while the vehicle is stationary.

Don’t Miss: CMF Phone 1 is a new modular phone by Nothing that only costs $199

This article talks about:

Googlegoogle maps

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

Chris Smith's latest stories

  • Wolverine fans will love this rumor ahead of Deadpool 3
  • Scientists may have solved one of the biggest mysteries surrounding migraines
  • Honor Magic Vs3 foldable might beat Samsung's cheap new Galaxy foldable to market

More Tech

Google Maps for iPhone and CarPlay finally added a speedometer


Jacob Siegal

Beware: Hackers are trying to steal Apple IDs with fake iCloud links


Jacob Siegal

How to use iPhone Mirroring with macOS Sequoia


José Adorno

iOS 18 beta 3 expands RCS to more carriers – here’s the full list


José Adorno

Latest News

Great Scott! One of the most beloved time travel movies of all time is now streaming on Netflix


Andy Meek

Xbox Game Pass prices are going up, and a new plan is coming


Jacob Siegal

Velotric Discover 2E-Bike Review


Jonathan S. Geller

Shrek 5 is bringing back the whole gang on July 1, 2026


Jacob Siegal

Debunked: No, Google Maps won't show you pop-up ads while you're driving (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Last Updated:

Views: 6381

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (49 voted)

Reviews: 80% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Lakeisha Bayer VM

Birthday: 1997-10-17

Address: Suite 835 34136 Adrian Mountains, Floydton, UT 81036

Phone: +3571527672278

Job: Manufacturing Agent

Hobby: Skimboarding, Photography, Roller skating, Knife making, Paintball, Embroidery, Gunsmithing

Introduction: My name is Lakeisha Bayer VM, I am a brainy, kind, enchanting, healthy, lovely, clean, witty person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.