It’s the go-to navigational app for millions of people around the world, but if you use Google Maps, you might have noticed some unusual changes today.
Google has begun to roll out a new app colour scheme – and many users are furious with the new choices.
Roads are now grey instead of white or yellow, while the active route is a much darker shade of blue and alternative routes are light blue instead of grey.
Taking to social media, several users have criticized the changes for being both hard to read and unattractive, with some users calling the new colours ‘cold and ugly’.
Meanwhile, eye experts have raised concerns that the more muted colour pallet will make the maps harder for people with colour blindness to read.
Google has begun to roll out a new app colour scheme – and many users are furious with the new choices
Taking to social media, several users have criticized the changes for being both hard to read and unattractive, with some users calling the new colours ‘cold and ugly’
On X (formerly Twitter), users expressed their frustration and confusion with the decision to change the app’s iconic colour scheme.
‘Has someone changed the colour scheme of Google Maps?’ asked one confused X user, adding: ‘I don’t like it.’
‘New Google Maps colors are so cold and ugly’, said another commenter, adding ‘Google Maps was always so warm and cozy’.
Another vented: ‘What’s with the weird colour scheme in Google Maps default mode? Please bring back the original colour scheme.’
Meanwhile another bluntly added: ‘This new google maps colour scheme is hideous’.
Many social media users say they dislike the new colour scheme, calling it ‘ugly’, ‘weird’, and even ‘hideous’
Other social media users pointed out that the change has brought some unusual and unwelcome colour changes to natural features like beaches and water.
One X user shared a picture of Blackpool Beach, writing: ‘The new google maps colour for “beach!” is this ashen grey which is an unusual choice.’
Another shared an image of the map of New York, complaining that the changes had reduced the contrast between water and land.
‘Why did they do this to Google Maps’, they wrote, ‘why did they change the colour of the water.’
One X user shared a picture of Blackpool Beach, writing: ‘The new google maps colour for “beach!” is this ashen grey which is an unusual choice’
The colour change of water was a point of particular concern for some X users who complained that it does not sufficiently contrast with land
What are the big colour changes in Google Maps’ new update?
Roads: Change from yellow or white to grey
Active Route: Change from blue to dark blue
Alternative Routes: Change from grey to light blue
Water: Change to a lighter shade of blue
Forests: Change to a darker shade of green
However, beyond being unattractive, these changes may make it a lot harder for people with colour blindness to use the app, according to Robin Spinks, head of design for the Royal National Institute for Blind People.
‘We know that there are reports of people having issues with the update,’ Mr Spinks told MailOnline.
‘We’re aware of the issue and have already spoken with the relevant teams [at Google].’
Mr Spinks also points out that it is not uncommon for new updates to create unintended accessibility issues for people with sight issues that need to be corrected later.
In particular, people with colour impairments are affected by a design trend that favours ‘opaque or milky colour schemes that offer low levels of contrast.’
‘It’s a constant challenge to promote inclusive design at every stage of the development process,’ he added.
‘A key thing we do is enable designers to better understand the intersection of inclusive design and great design.’
The new update has reduced the contrast between certain map features which experts warn may make the app less accessible for colour-blind users
Likewise, Kathryn Albany-Ward, founder of Colour Blind Awareness, told MailOnline: ‘Frankly Google Maps was not accessible to colour blind people previously and whatever they have done has still not made Maps accessible.
‘Bearing in mind there are 300 million colour blind people worldwide that’s a lot of people to be discriminating against because they can’t make sense of essential features of the product.
‘The traffic feature colours were useless and are still useless.
‘Google have not complied with (or even attempted to [comply with]) the Internationally recognised standard for web-based information.
‘These guidelines state minimum colour contrast ratios between different colours should be applied or if it’s not possible to achieve this they state information should be given by another means.’
The update was first spotted in August, although it was originally restricted to a limited test.
Since then, users began to notice the changes starting from September, but the change will now roll out to more devices on both Android and iOS.
Google has been approached for a comment.