- All things considered, I suspect that Google Maps's city reduction was an optimization for reading the maps on mobile devices, and that the new roads were added to make the maps look less empty (once the cities were removed). After all, a map with fewer labels is a map that's faster to read.
About a year ago I noticed that Google Maps was showing fewer cities and thought it was just me as it was about a year that I went with Google Fi and bought a Nexus 6. Thinking the more services did something to the way they detected me with my mobile devices jwas just something that I didn't question at the time.
The change to optimize Maps for Mobile makes a whole lot of sense, and my frustration with finding small towns in BFE is something I now understand.