Most digital marketers I am sure have noticed the notices coming from Google telling them to update service areas. On September 3rd 2019 Google announced that no longer support use of a distance radius as your service area.
Note: You can no longer set your service area as a distance around your business. If you previously entered a distance around your business, you won’t be able to edit it. Instead, you’ll need to specify your service area by city, postal code, or other area(s).
This time it seems across the board as before it only restricted some industries.
The question is why Google is doing this? and what affect will it have?
Although its a bit early on to know everything, it seems so far only to be an advantage. Google is forcing businesses to be more specific to which areas it services. Rather then adjust radius limit for Large, densely populated cities like New York this will work by neighborhood. This is why it should be easier to argue with Google for a specific neighborhood rather then fight over the kilometer/mile radius. For example it might be reasonable for a plumber to go 20 miles from near Washington DC to Frederick MD but not reasonable for a plumber to go 20 miles from Long Island New York to Clifton NJ.
From my experience it seems you aren’t restricted by which town or neighborhoods you could have on your service area. Of course all edits are “reviewed for quality” and take “up to 3 days” before they are published. Because of this its hard to determine yet if Google is shrinking everyone’s service coverage.
This blog here discuses what might be Google’s intent: https://www.localsearchforum.com/threads/changing-the-gmb-service-area-radius-on-google-maps.53591/
The service area creation steps appear to be the same as always minus that option. See how to add or edit a service area from the Google documentation.