Google does not openly advertise the fact that they have different location data for different users. However there is good anecdotal evidence an hearsay that Google Maps API returning inaccurate results may be by design.
The evidence is most prevalent in the geocoding of locations. The latitude and longitude Google assigns to different addresses is not “set in stone”. It is an interesting anomaly given the fact that places on earth should not move with regard to their latitude & longitude outside of plate tectonics.
The team at Store Locator Plus® has long held a theory that Google intentionally subverts accurate location data; quite likely to gain competitive advantage for their own products and services.
Security Through Anonymity
Prior to Store Locator Plus® 5, every time a user visited your map page and typed in an address to be searched — typically the zip code for their town or their home address, this request was sent directly to Google. That means Google now has all kinds of great information they are going to store about your site visitors. They know that the user visited your site, when they visited, that they were looking at your location map, and the address where they were looking for your shop.
The late November 2018 updates to My Store Locator Plus® add a new level of data privacy for your site visitors. Until now whenever a user typed in an address on your locator that search was sent directly from the user’s browser to Google. This is how the vast-majority of locator software applications work.
In an effort to provide a better user experience AND protect user privacy, all address lookup requests (aka geocoding requests) are now directed through the My Store Locator Plus® dual-layer proxy server. Unlike Google, and many other online services, we do not track or retain identifiable data that associates this lookup with a user or their IP address.
By doing nothing more than employing the MySLP embed code on your site to provide locator or directory services for your customers you are giving them an extra level of privacy and security. Google can no longer directly associate an address they type into the search with their web browser.
Privacy. That is something we think everyone can use more of these days.