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hide search box in google maps, 2015/06/28:13:31

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Here is a Google Maps Search Box toggle button to make life better.
Recently, Google made the decision to plant giant floating search boxes on Google maps, obscuring huge portions of the map. The box can be made a little smaller, but not small enough, and it never goes away completely. This was a very bad design decision.

A good design decision would have given the user the option to show or hide that box by a simple button press. Instead, the box is not optional at all. As of the writing of this entry, June 2015, Google does not even offer a complex, round-about solution buried deep within its settings. No official browser add-on is supplied for any browser.

But Alex Chan came to our rescue, with a simple solution: a toggle button for the bookmarks bar. It is a javascript bookmarklet. Go to the page and drag the button to your bookmarks bar.

When you need to look at the unobstructed map with your eyes, you can press the toggle button to hide the search box. When you need to do a search, you can press the button to show the search box.

Elegantly executed. Instantly and easily installed. Instantly and easily removable. Unobtrusive. And it works.

I have tested the toggle in Chrome 43.0.2357.130 m, Firefox 38.0.5, and Internet Explorer 11.0.9600.17842, all on a Windows 8.1 machine.

The name of the toggle, "Toggle Google Maps," takes up a lot of room on your bookmarks bar, which is bad if the bar is as packed as mine is. No problem. It's just a piece of user-editable text, not a graphic. Right click the bookmarklet, select "Properties/Name" for Firefox (or "Edit" for Chrome or, or "Rename" for IE) and enter a shorter name.
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