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Google Maps is experimenting with showing you pop-up ads while you drive

Some are calling it "intrusive" and "aggressive."
Google Maps is experimenting with showing you pop-up ads while you drive Credit: DannMano / Shutterstock.com

Google Maps is testing a new feature that may drive — no pun intended — you up a wall. Anthony Higman, a Google Maps user, posted on X about it, pointing out that he spotted a never-before-seen pop-up ad while driving with the navigation app near Atlantic City, New Jersey.

"Yo Check Out This Wild New Ad Format On The Google Maps App," Higman wrote. "I Put In Directions Down The Shore And Then When I Passed This Gas Station This Royal Farms Ad Popped Up With 'Add Stop.'"

Higman added that he didn't input anything regarding gas or food into the app. "Anyone Know What Kind OF Ad Format This Is?!?!?!" he asked.

Google Maps may be experimenting with new pop-up ads

It appears that Google Maps is testing a new feature that, without being prompted, launches a sponsored pop-up ad for a nearby business with the buttons "Cancel" and "Add Stop."

Calling it "aggressive," 9to5Google pointed out that this is an ad format that Google has used for its Waze app. Of course, Google Maps is no stranger to sponsored content. For example, per Neowin, Google highlights sponsored businesses on maps and search results, particularly when people search for adjacent locations (e.g., "pizza near me").

However, a sponsored ad popping up while driving, prompting users to add a sponsored locale as a stop on their route, appears to be a new ad format Google is exploring. If you don't interact with the ad, it disappears after a few seconds. It only expands if you tap on it.

According to AndroidPolice, this so-called "intrusive" ad may be based on a recent memo Google sent to advertisers that says, in part, "We're launching ads on Google Maps to help advertisers like you get more leads. The current launch is limited to the iOS version of the Google Maps mobile app."

It's unclear whether Google is piloting this new ad format with a limited number of users or planning to roll it out to a larger audience in the near future.

Mashable reached out to Google for comment. This article will be updated with the search giant's response if we receive one.

Topics: Google, Tech

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