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Old 08-31-2019, 08:01 AM   #1
jazzy_mood
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Strange Google Maps behavior


Hi all,

Since a few weeks ago I've been seeing a strange Google Maps behavior. Instead of showing the icons it usually shows on top on how to get to a particular address (car, public transport, walking and cycling), it shows an additional icon of a man carrying a suitcase. When I choose this icon to know the directions to a location, it shows strange longer routes with shorter time. It's really weird, it's as if I had been p0wned and someone was playing tricks with my phone. Or maybe is a new Google Maps feature?

(See attached image).

Any clues?
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Old 08-31-2019, 09:56 AM   #2
Tonus
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Strange Google Maps behavior

Taxi, Uber or whatever.

No superman.
 
Old 08-31-2019, 11:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonus View Post
No superman.
I just loled

yeah
pic is someone hailing a ride
 
Old 08-31-2019, 12:57 PM   #4
jazzy_mood
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So, is it a new feature?
 
Old 08-31-2019, 01:27 PM   #5
business_kid
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I've found this here in Ireland, and there are two reasons I have deduced.
  1. Maps has a definite preference for major roads I got routed yesterday via 2 main roads and through a sometimes busy roundabout with potential tailbacks on all entries rather than use an 'as the crow flies' route. My pet theory is that google assigns an average speed along each road, and this was "faster" than the crow flies route.
  2. Deep in the bowels of thing, there is/was/used to be some control in your routing preferences, and you can hunt for this. It sounds like you're on fastest time,' when you might want 'shortest distance.'

I should add that my wife, who was driving, ignored google and me totally, and went another way because "she knew exactly where it was," or wasn't in this instance. So I spent 20 minutes with sharp lefts, rights, & hairpins going over ramps at high speed. My nausea got acute before we arrived.

It's really difficult in Ireland, because many city roads are so narrow, and cars are parked on both sides. One car coming against you is a major obstacle.
 
Old 09-02-2019, 02:58 AM   #6
jazzy_mood
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post

I should add that my wife, who was driving, ignored google and me totally, and went another way because "she knew exactly where it was," or wasn't in this instance. So I spent 20 minutes with sharp lefts, rights, & hairpins going over ramps at high speed. My nausea got acute before we arrived.
That made me chuckle

Anyway, I wonder if this icon (function?) of a man carrying a suitcase is a new Google Maps feature. Sometimes it has suggested longer walking routes (no Uber or Cabify) to my destination with shorter travel times, which makes me think my phone has been somehow p0wned by someone playing tricks on me for some reason.
 
Old 09-02-2019, 07:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
I've found this here in Ireland, and there are two reasons I have deduced.
  1. Maps has a definite preference for major roads I got routed yesterday via 2 main roads and through a sometimes busy roundabout with potential tailbacks on all entries rather than use an 'as the crow flies' route. My pet theory is that google assigns an average speed along each road, and this was "faster" than the crow flies route.
  2. Deep in the bowels of thing, there is/was/used to be some control in your routing preferences, and you can hunt for this. It sounds like you're on fastest time,' when you might want 'shortest distance.'

I should add that my wife, who was driving, ignored google and me totally, and went another way because "she knew exactly where it was," or wasn't in this instance. So I spent 20 minutes with sharp lefts, rights, & hairpins going over ramps at high speed. My nausea got acute before we arrived.

It's really difficult in Ireland, because many city roads are so narrow, and cars are parked on both sides. One car coming against you is a major obstacle.
I did that to myself a few months ago. I was on a route I knew but using a generic (non-Google, so OT) navigation app to avoid roadworks. I eventually reached a remote area that I knew was extremely unlikely to have any traffic problems unless a road was completely closed, and the app said the shortest road was open but tried to send me the long way. I went the short way and was reminded just how much that road twists and turns - even more than the long way. What made the difference was that I was driving in the dark, which made the whole thing that much slower and almost certainly tipped the balance in favour of the app's preferred route.

My conclusion was that automatic route-finding has finally reached the point where it is actually likely to choose the best route, at least in a well-mapped area like the UK.
 
Old 09-02-2019, 07:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastychomper View Post
I did that to myself a few months ago. I was on a route I knew but using a generic (non-Google, so OT) navigation app to avoid roadworks. I eventually reached a remote area that I knew was extremely unlikely to have any traffic problems unless a road was completely closed, and the app said the shortest road was open but tried to send me the long way. I went the short way and was reminded just how much that road twists and turns - even more than the long way. What made the difference was that I was driving in the dark, which made the whole thing that much slower and almost certainly tipped the balance in favour of the app's preferred route.

My conclusion was that automatic route-finding has finally reached the point where it is actually likely to choose the best route, at least in a well-mapped area like the UK.

but do you know how that do it?

they track users of the app/gps
basically they follow where they go
Eventually they pick up a decent picture of the best routes for the time of day/night.

so your example of the dark twisty road.
This probably means the locals take a different route when it is dark, icy or whatever.

kinda smart, but the "AI" is powered by real human beings .. that don't even know !
 
Old 09-03-2019, 01:38 AM   #9
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pastychomper View Post
a generic (non-Google) navigation app
You wish!
 
Old 09-03-2019, 04:55 AM   #10
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Non Google map readers are out there. I got a Garmin GPS, back when phones couldn't do gps accurately enough (here, at any rate) and my son got a Tom-Tom. I got ripped of for map updates by Garmin, but they were meaningful. A lot of road construction was going on at the time. There was significant 'dual carriageway --> motorway' conversions, and new motorways put up. But they hadn't a clue how to build motorways (and still don't, really, although it's better). The Tom-Tom took you down roads that weren't there yet, or had been cut off :-/. I could travel the Dublin-Cork road which has 3 tolls, and it would steer me off before the toll booth, and back on afterwards.

Both eventually went the way of a lot of auto electronics (load dumps, transient spikes = blown electronics).

As google tracks your location, just go where you like and it will modify it's directions accordingly. It's usually pretty obvious when google gets it wrong, but it saves you trying to read house numbers when you arrive.
 
Old 09-04-2019, 12:15 AM   #11
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
Non Google map readers are out there. Garmin GPS, ... Tom-Tom.
Do they still work? If yes, do you know where they get their data from?
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to believe that they have this whole independent and complete System of Road maps & Information going on, but currently only the OSM-verse is doing that (and the completeness is debatable) and somehow I don't believe that those devices are using that.
Quote:
As google tracks your location, just go where you like and it will modify it's directions accordingly. It's usually pretty obvious when google gets it wrong, but it saves you trying to read house numbers when you arrive.
I wasn't refering to functionality at all.

But, generally speaking, that's the crux with Google: With all the data they harvest from most of the world's population, they can give the Good Sheeple extremely convenient services.

I also distinctly remember several cases where people got utterly F-d by this convenience, and, in retrospect, would have been better off without any smart device at all, just following their nose.
 
Old 09-04-2019, 05:25 AM   #12
business_kid
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I don't know where they get their info from. I don't think Tom-Tom updated that much, or maybe my son was just a cheapskate. Garmin were more up-to-date than Google Maps.

There's been major traffic problems here since the late 1990s. In the 'Celtic Tiger' years, we suddenly started buying 100,000+ cars in Dublin City, and the roads had been designed for the horse & carriage. The city started gobbling up the local countryside, and house prices went through the roof. Motorways sprang up and cars were increasingly banned from the city centre. We now have Taxi Lanes, Bus Lanes, & Luas tracks (Luas = speed in Irish and it's an on-road light passenger train).

Garmin remained more up to date than Google, updating every few months, probably from Satellite photos. Google didn't know what to do if you were looking for directions driving through what they had as a field. That madness is over (whew!), but the motorways are a disaster around the city: When you exit the motorway, you're met with 2 or 3 lanes and you have to choose real quick because they divide, and you're forced down some exit.
 
Old 09-04-2019, 10:35 AM   #13
Pastychomper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Firerat View Post
but do you know how that do it?

they track users of the app/gps
basically they follow where they go
Eventually they pick up a decent picture of the best routes for the time of day/night.

so your example of the dark twisty road.
This probably means the locals take a different route when it is dark, icy or whatever.

kinda smart, but the "AI" is powered by real human beings .. that don't even know !
Fair comment, I should have said route-finding and the data it's based on have become good enough. Certainly I've gone from using GPS as an occasional shortcut to having to be careful not to rely on it (I'm good with a map but poor at remembering directions, so it's a temptation).
The apps I've tried seem fairly open about "improving" the service so the users should figure out what's happening if they're interested.


As for Google's involvement, nope, can't rule it out, the app in question uses OSM as far as I can see but doesn't specify all its sources. It doesn't smell evil, at least not strongly.
 
Old 09-04-2019, 11:20 AM   #14
TenTenths
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Quote:
Originally Posted by business_kid View Post
It's really difficult in Ireland, because many city roads are so narrow, and cars are parked on both sides. One car coming against you is a major obstacle.
Google Maps should do a specific Irish Navigation option, where all the turns are based on either churches or pubs. BUT, with the name of the pub as the name the locals call it, which it's probably not actually been called for 20 years!

"Ah sure, turn right at the Shanty!" really means "Turn right at the Mulhuddart Arms"

(Disclosure; Scottish, but living in Dublin for 20 years)
 
Old 09-04-2019, 01:35 PM   #15
business_kid
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ROTFL.

There's things affecting that: Pubs are closing big time. People don't know pubs - the off licenses have 500ml cans of paint stripping beer for €1 or under (things like Tennants, Carling, & Aldi/Lidl brands). Respectable Polish beers (e.g Tyske) are a bit over €1/500ml, but all of them are below or about €2/500ml. It costs ~€5.50 per pint(=568ml) in a pub. So the pubs which have to open all day, only have decent turnover in the last hour.

Another is that 100 years after it was needed, Ireland finally has drink-driving (DUI as it's called in the US) laws with teeth. You can't drive while half twisted here. The Breathalyzer is the law. If you fail that, you're drunk.

So pubs are diversifying, or closing. Pub lunches, Live Music, receptions, or even converting their empty 'upstairs lounge' into a theatre. Big pubs (Coman's of Rathgar, The Submarine, etc. with large buildings) are gone. Character pubs (e.g. the Brazen Head, Allens of Rockbrook) live on. If the locals aren't alcoholics within walking distance, it's a poor outlook.

Churches are going too. In Churches where several priests used live off the masses for centuries, there's 1 geriatric priest between two churches. The few at church are geriatrics. As Lenny Bruce put it:
Quote:
Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. -- Lenny Bruce
Jehovah's Witnesses are expanding - everything else is static/shrinking.

Last edited by business_kid; 09-04-2019 at 01:36 PM.
 
  


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