Google Maps hit by bizarre destination-changing bug

Users report how how the app is navigating to the wrong destination

Google Maps app
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

What’s the worst thing a navigation app like Google Maps could do? We suspect changing the route then navigating you to the wrong destination is pretty high on the list of potential pitfalls – and that’s exactly what the app has been doing.

According to users who have posted on Google’s help forums, the app has an issue where it changes the destination after rerouting.

Google Maps reroutes fairly regularly, especially on journeys that have become disrupted due to unexpected traffic, accidents and road closures. As users will know, the app offers a new route to save time, then takes you a different way to your destination.

However, users are reporting how the app reroutes, but then changes the destination. Specifically, this has been happening when drivers enter coordinates instead of an address as their destination. This is common practice for those who want to navigate to a precise location that might not be close to a postal address.

Users have posted screenshots of the bug, which shows the Google Maps app changing the destination, sometimes to an entirely different road. It has been suggested that the bug appeared after Google rolled out a feature that picks the most fuel-efficient route for a journey, which is calculated by Google Maps depending on what type of engine your vehicle has.

The bug has been reported in the UK and US, and is affecting the Google Maps app on iPhones and Android handsets.

One Google Maps user said: “Our organisation is also experiencing this issue. Users will report being misled from as short as a block away to a few streets away to 10 minutes away and even up to three hours away in one case.”

This person, who uses Google Maps inside another application, added: “Currently testing switching to Waze for navigation as this has caused significant impact to the organisation.”

Another person who uses Google Maps for their business said: “I’ve heard from a lot of our customers on many different Android devices. And they tell me that sometimes the wrong new position is up to 20 km from the wanted destination.”

Google representatives have asked for more evidence of what’s going on, and say they haven’t yet been able to replicate the bug for themselves.

Alistair Charlton

Alistair is a freelance automotive and technology journalist. He has bylines on esteemed sites such as the BBC, Forbes, TechRadar, and of best of all, T3, where he covers topics ranging from classic cars and men's lifestyle, to smart home technology, phones, electric cars, autonomy, Swiss watches, and much more besides. He is an experienced journalist, writing news, features, interviews and product reviews. If that didn't make him busy enough, he is also the co-host of the AutoChat podcast.