Google Maps Image Quality - Google decides whether you get high or low quality

If you've ever used Google Maps on a slow internet connection, you may have noticed (or become frustrated) by the bad quality of the map images.

Perhaps someone else is downloading something, and you were trying to view maps on Google whilst your connection is slower than normal. Or maybe your broadband internet connection is speed limited (capped, throttled) due to exceeding the download limit. Initially, the page loads properly (albeit at a slower pace), and the map tiles start loading at their normal quality. The speed isn't terribly slow, in fact, even tolerably slow internet connections won't cause too much waiting when the images are loading.

Then at some arbitary point in time (as determined by google's algorithms), the site decides to stop loading the high quality images and starts to replace them with low quality images -  loading map tiles twice, wasting even more time.

This behaviour is actually counter productive. Rather than letting the high quality images finish loading, starting a new download of low quality images causes more requests to google's servers.

While this happens, a mixture of high and low quality map tiles is displayed. This inconsistency will last for a little while as it starts replacing the already fully loaded high quality map tiles with low-Q ones.

The crap quality maps have near-unredable fonts and jagged road lines and markers.

The behaviour makes for a less-than-ideal user experience. It causes frustration. And you're unable to change it. Google will decide what's best for you.

Most people are willing to wait a little longer to view the maps in high quality. For google to suddenly decide to load bad quality maps (even though some of the high quality tiles are already loaded) is a slap in the face of users. And even worse, there is no way to turn this 'feature' off.

Google needs to stop deciding what's best for the end user. Let the users decide. Give them the option in the preference settings.

The examples used this URL:,145.019531&spn=3.368378,4.158325&z=8