Former Google UX researcher reveals Google Maps lacks “scenic route” feature because of DEI policies
06/21/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

A former UX researcher for Google Maps has revealed that the company's decision to forego the creation of a "scenic route" feature in its navigation app is due to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies.

In a recently deleted series of posts on X, Kasey Klimes, who served as a senior UX researcher for Google Maps from 2017 to 2021, explained that Google engineers decided against implementing a scenic route option due to concerns about potential bias.

Klimes argued that the current algorithm in Google Maps is objective, focusing on efficiency and directness. However, introducing a "scenic route" option would necessitate new variables like aesthetic value and landscape features, which could inadvertently favor high-income areas known for their picturesque environments.

"The Google Maps routing algorithm selects the fastest route between your location and your destination. That means every segment of the street network has an equal chance at being traveled. Given the commonality of location/destination deltas and street segment connectivity, the current algo is basically objective. Any shift towards "nice" or "scenic" routes is going to take some new subset of variables into account; beautiful architecture, street trees, etc. This naturally introduces bias to the system (again, at a global scale)," Klimes posted.

Moreover, Klimes stressed that adding a scenic route feature could inadvertently direct users through more affluent neighborhoods, thereby diverting foot traffic and economic activity away from lower-income areas. In turn, Klimes claimed that this could lead to an imbalance in economic benefits, funneling tax dollars and business opportunities into wealthier regions while exacerbating disparities in less affluent communities.

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"Because of its global scale, even a small shift in maps routing from a seemingly innocuous (and frankly very useful) could create a reinforcing feedback loop with spatial inequality. Inadvertently diverting foot traffic from streets to high-income streets takes revenue and potentially tax dollars from already struggling communities and funnels it instead to richer communities," he added.

So, instead of a scenic route option, Google focused on integrating generative AI into its Maps app and introduced new features like enhanced reviews of electric vehicle charging stations. These updates seek to improve the user experience in ways that align with Google's broader strategic goals.

Users may be directed to areas with high crime rates

The revelation has sparked debate, with some critics arguing that DEI-influenced decisions might direct users through areas with potentially higher crime rates.

"This is actually mind-blowing. Google Maps doesn't have a scenic route option because of DEI. And people wonder why Google is getting crushed and all their products are garbage," one user who shared the now-deleted thread posted on X. (Related: DEI is collapsing across corporate America.)

Some users speculate that Google may have intervened to prevent further disclosure of internal deliberations. Meanwhile, others suggest that Google is avoiding the implementation of user-desired features due to ideological influences.

"The reason Google Maps sent you down a 'low-income' route and you got mugged is because a group of Google engineers decided we needed to redistribute your money according to their desires," another user posted, along with screenshots of the thread.

Following the backlash and intense scrutiny, Klimes deleted his thread and locked his X account.

Visit for more stories about DEI initiatives.

Watch this video that explains how diversity destroys communities.

This video is from The Hard Right View channel on

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