Aug 21, 2010

2010: A Google Odyssey

There are so many phrases and words that are a part of our everyday lives that would have seemed like something out of an H.G. Wells novel when I was a kid. Internet, Texting, Cell Phone.... BLOGGER to name a few.

Remember when Google Maps first came out? Long before Google Earth and Google Sky and Google phones? It seemed like I always got lost even with the printed directions and when I tried to blame Google, people would first roll their eyes and then look with pity at the poor schmuck who didn't know how to read directions. I swear it happened more than once.

The husband and I got a pair of slick new Google phones a couple of months back. These are so cool. One of the things you can do with them is pull up directions in Google and then have the phone READ them to you like a regular GPS. (Like I can't do that, but at least the husband can't yell at ME.)

We took them with us on our recent trip to San Francisco. He had already printed out the directions via Google a few months ago, but we decided to play with the new navigation feature for the first time while there. We took the Pacific Coast Highway down to Monterey, but on the way back we needed to get to San Francisco in time to catch our flight home so we needed the easiest, quickest route - the Google Way!

Both the printed directions and the Navigator had us taking the 101 through San Jose, the 880 through Oakland and the 80 across the Bay Bridge back to our hotel to drop off the rental car. Everything was going fine. We had followed all the directions and were heading across the Bay Bridge on our last leg into the city, waiting for our next set of instructions. As we sat in line at the toll booth on the bridge there was nothing but silence for a minute or two. I checked the printed instructions and everything seemed to be in order.

That's when we heard the voice.

"In .3 miles make a U-Turn". We looked at each other. How could this be? We hadn't moved. Was the bridge even that long? Obviously we were headed in the right direction. We could see the San Francisco skyline looming in front of us. The thought crossed our minds, "How stupid would we look if we asked the man at the toll booth how to get to San Francisco"? We didn't. And once we started moving again the pleasant voice reaffirmed that we were going the right way.

I rest my case. That, my friends, is proof that Google can (and often does) get you lost.

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
HAL: I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman: What's the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it. 

~2001: A Space Odyssey 

4 Passengers in the Car:

Magpie said...

Ha Ha! Good thing you didn't follow the directions. I believed you all along.
That is Greg's favorite movie! He even has Nicole quoting lines from it.

Brian Miller said...

lol. i remember the early nav systems...when i was working sales they used to get me lost...

Kathy said...

This is funny! Remember when we used MapQuest from Oklahoma City and it put us on an unfinished freeway?

Kathy said...

Map Quest still takes me out of my driveway and in a long, roundabout circle to get to someplace that I could just turn left and be there! My friend has a system where if she gets an email while she's driving it opens it and "reads" it to her and replies to the sender, "I heard your email. I'll reply ASAP." Now that's pretty cool. I think it's called Drive Safe or Drive Safely.

Hey, I grew up in the Piney Woods and those vines ain't growin' on me yet (you notice I say yet. I'm getting slower as the days go by).