At the beginning of every road trip for the last ten years I have taken the same 5 mile / 15 min trip from my house to the highway.  I don’t like to fumble with my phone while I’m driving or during a trip, which means I’m pulling up Google Maps in my driveway. This also means I have to listen to Google tell me how to get the highway, a trip I’ve taken probably 3,000 times.

Google Maps can be more human

If you ask someone for directions to Boston from Rhode Island they aren’t going to lay out a 60 step plan covering every single turn and fork. Instead they’re going to say something like “Get on 95 North and in about 30 min stay to the right to get on 93 North. Take that until you get into the city, you can’t miss it.”

Google Maps on the other hand can’t make assumptions about what you know about the neighborhood or what amount of directions you really need.  Or can it?

Google Maps has the data and the ability to determine where I live, and how often I travel the same routes. There’s no technical limitation to improving local directions.

Google Maps would be so much more awesome if it could simply say “Get on 95 North” as step 1. 

Detailed local directions are often less accurate

How often do you ignore Google Maps when they are giving hyper local directions? I do all the time because no one knows my neighborhood better than the people who live there.

I know that the intersection of Airport Rd and Warwick Ave (known locally as Hoxsie Four Corners) is a very dangerous intersection and should probably be avoided when possible.

I know that taking Warwick Ave instead of West Shore Road gives me more short cut options if traffic is super high.  I also know that there is a shortcut through a small neighborhood off of Airport Road that takes you straight to the highway that you’re not allowed to use from 7am to 9am but that everyone does anyways.

My point is that if I pretty much ignore Google Maps till I’m in unknown territory, which pretty much kills its value in my neighborhood. Google Maps would actually increase it’s accuracy and overall value to me if it let me decide how to get to the highway.

Google if you’re listening, I’m ready to beta this for you!

Jesse Friedman has been building websites for 18 years, and exclusively with WordPress since 2006. Since then Jesse has written several books, taught 100’s of students as a professor, and organized dozens of local meetups along with a few WordCamps. Jesse has spoken at tech conferences around the world including SXSW, HOW, Future events and many more. Jesse has consulted for a wide array of companies from small agencies to multi-billion dollar international companies. Today Jesse is a proud team member of Jetpack at Automattic, where he spends his time growth hacking and building strategic partnerships.

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