Google maps is one technology that plays a vital role in our everyday lives -from navigation, positioning, guides, business listing and reviews amongst others.
Created by Lars Rasmussen and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen and Launched on February 8, 2005. Google Maps has helped many navigate through novel terrains, save time, reduce fuel costs and find the best routes in the instance of congestion and emergencies.
Google maps may be one of the best navigation apps out there, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect, it has its pitfalls which need to be improved on. Below are the four areas if improved on will increase the utility, dependence and overall credibility of Google maps.
1. Privacy Features
Privacy is one big concern with improved technologies, especial those that collect personal data like Google Maps.
Apple Maps, Google’s major competitor has superior privacy settings which Google can mimic to improve hers.
Personal data collected by Google Maps are stored on a remote server, whereas Apple Maps stores personal data locally on a user’s device, which you can choose to keep or delete whenever you want. Apple Maps uses a special method called fuzzing to give you accurate travel data while also keeping that data private.
Rather than sending off a single request for information about your route from A to B, Apple Maps will include it in a data packet that also asks about travel options between other points. When the packet gets back to your iPhone the excess information is dumped so you only get the directions you asked for, but the server doesn’t know which data you really wanted. What’s more, by the time your data reaches Apple’s servers it’s no longer attached to your Apple ID. So not only is it near impossible for Apple remotely determine where you are, it doesn’t even know who you are. The reverse is the case with Google Maps.
Google maps are pretty accurate, the traffic warnings and journey times are invariably right, and its routes will always get me to where I want to go.
However, navigating towns and cities on foot, Google Maps can sometimes disregard alleys and paths that could simplify or even shorten my route, overly favouring paths along main roads.
These petty issues aren’t going to be the easiest to get right all the time – after all, Google Maps is trying to keep track of data from all over the world – but there are some ways it could be fixed.
Additionally, it would be great if the car navigation system could use your phone’s rear camera to detect road signs, live-updating the recommended speed limit as you drive. Traffic sign recognition is already appearing in many cars, and adding it to Google Maps shouldn’t be too difficult.
3. Google Map Voice
Google Maps’ voice options are rather lacking or ineffective. Google maps before now have preset voice options which users can make do with or record theirs for a more personalized use of the technology. These voice options included that of celebrities with variance in intonation and speech rates. Admittedly, these voices could grate after a while, stop working or speak in intonation unfamiliar to the user. Google Maps should improve on this feature so as to give its users an amazing user experience.
4. Combining Multiple Modes Of Transport
Being able to combine Google Maps’ different transportation options into a single route on the main page would be a huge help. There are ways to get around this – by using multiple tabs with different sections of the route mapped out.
Combining multiple modes of transportation with Google maps would be a big time-saver when planning routes that use multiple modes of transportation. As such, if I want to take a bus to the local train station, it will likely take me about an hour, including the walk on either end. By contrast, I can drive there in about 20-25 minutes, depending on traffic.
Being able to combine these eco-friendlier options would help me better plan when I need to leave, so I can arrive in time, without having to sprint to catch my train.
I believe if these already existing features are improved on, it would mean a whole lot in improving the user experience, dependence and overall performance of Google maps as a global guide.