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Thomasina
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An unexpected side-effect of Google Maps
by Tateru Nino
24 May, 2014

The other day, travelling from an unfamiliar part of town back home through heavy traffic, I decided to just let Google Maps call the shots. I could have navigated myself, just using major routes that went towards areas I knew, but I decided to see what Google Maps did for me.

It took me on a rather interesting journey.

That’s not the most interesting bit, but let’s start with that.

It navigated me quite competently in the direction of home, using a route that I probably wouldn’t have chosen even if I’d been familiar with the area. That worked well. Then, in more familiar territory, I decided to let it have its head when it directed me off the main route and through a bunch of quiet back streets, before getting me back onto the main roads that I’d left.

It did that three times, and all in all, it seems those strange little detours saved me something like 20 minutes off the time I’d roughly expected to spend on the trip, bypassing road-works and heavy congestion. Anywhere that its live data was showing as being slower than alternate routes.

Then, a couple of days later, I am coming home quite late at night. I’ve got Google Maps running navigation, even though I don’t actually need it. Unexpectedly, Google Maps tells me to make a turn to go around an area that I would ordinarily go straight through. I’m curious as to why.
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