Some users are reporting that they’re getting some bizarre spammy messages on Google Maps of all places. The pop-ups notify the users that they’ve won something, then request their location. What the hell?
Threads have been showing up on reddit with users asking the same question we’re all wondering right now: what is this? For starters, it’s clear that this a request using Maps’ Location Sharing feature. But the biggest issue here is that not just anyone can request your location—only users you’ve previously shared your location with (using the Location Sharing feature specifically) are allowed to re-request your location. I’m fairly certain that users who are seeing this location request spam aren’t actively sharing their locations with, you know, spammers. This makes the arrival of these requests even more perplexing.
Some users are also speculating it has to do with the Nearby feature, though that hasn’t been confirmed yet. Bleeping Computer caught wind of the issue and reached out to a few users who have gotten the error, though they still couldn’t find out the source issue here—most users just said they blocked or denied the request for location and went on about their way.
One Twitter user went as far as investigating the included link to find it goes to three different domains from Namecheap, though again, no further information about how these were being generated was found. The user also pinged Google and Google Maps in the series of tweets to let them know he has a screenshot and the domains, but it doesn’t look like he received a response.
Either way, it’s affecting both iOS and Android users on Maps, is incredibly spammy, and no one has any idea how spammers are generating location requests. If you happen to get such an error when using Maps, it’s probably best to ignore it and deny the request. If we happen to hear anything else about where the potential cause, we’ll update here.