Google Maps Drops Wikipedia Layer

Sep 10, 2013 • 8:51 am | comments (13) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Maps

Pegman Google MapsIt seems as if Google dropped the Wikipedia layer from Google Maps a few weeks ago.

A Google Maps Help thread has dozens of complaints from Google Maps users that the Wikipedia layer is gone.

The layer provided additional content from Wikipedia about location specific data on the map. Now, it is no longer available.

click for full sizeIn fact, if you look at the help document about the available layers, you will not see Wikipedia listed there. The current options include:

  • Traffic
  • Photos
  • Labels
  • Webcams
  • Bicycling
  • 45º
  • Terrain
  • Transit

Google has not yet responded to the complaints in the thread. But it does seem the Wikipedia layer is officially gone from Google Maps.

Forum discussion at Google Maps Help.

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09/10/2013 03:19 pm

Dropping the Wikipedia option/links layer is a great disservice .... a deletion/omission that makes Google Maps less functional and hence less appealing to the user.

Gregory Kohs

09/10/2013 05:26 pm

In 2010, the Wikipedia article about my business, MyWikiBiz, was geographically tethered to the Google Maps layer for Wikipedia. Google Places traffic to my map listing increased about five-fold. Chart:

Takeshi Young

09/10/2013 06:37 pm

Am I the only one that's never heard of this feature before?

Morgan Akchehirlian

09/10/2013 08:02 pm

Thanks Gregory for taking us back to where it all started.The point is Google is always great at notifying user experience.The areas they see where users are not using it they start skipping it. Continuously testing new things and getting rid of old ones. In this tech era an online organization have to keep changing.They need to build the culture of change. Many Google places/business do not have wikipedia pages so its better to have local searches with out this option.

Gregory Kohs

09/10/2013 09:12 pm

No, you're hardly the first, Takeshi -- it was a rather obscure element of Google Maps that I'm confident less than 5% of users even had any earthly idea existed.

Ronaldroripon Roripon

09/14/2013 08:32 am vs

Gracious Store

09/16/2013 04:44 am

Not sure you're alone! I've not heard of it also

Jonathan Fox

09/21/2013 11:25 pm

This is a real shame. I often used the feature to look up historical or geographical information on a location such as a shipwreck, an historical river, castle, burial mound etc. Now I am blind to the semantics of the map. It is like stripping out the major highways or place names. To those that failed to notice the feature I say to them perhaps you also did not notice "Traffic, photos, Weather, Terrain, Webcams, Bicycling and Labels" as that was where Wikipedia was nestled amongst? Perhaps there is an opportunity here for to step up and introduce the wikipedia layer.


10/06/2013 01:28 am

Weirdly, it's back, for me. Maybe They heard my complaint...


10/06/2013 10:13 am

Really? What browser are you using and what did you do to make it work?


12/20/2013 10:29 pm

I just noticed it. Motherfucking retards! ( I cant for the life of me come up with a more diplomatic description of it all)

David T

12/23/2013 02:40 pm

For people who still want this feature - you may be interested in a project I've been working on:

David Spritzer

05/15/2014 09:53 pm

You can get layers back if you uninstall the update on your maps app. This will take you back to the factory version that was originally installed on your phone. If you upgrade your phone to a newer phone that never had layers... you will probably never see layers again... Google giveth, and Google taketh away...

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