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March 29, 2007

Google Maps Shows Funny Directions

It's not the first time when Google Maps shows strange directions. This time, if you want to go from Stanford to Stockholm, Google recommends to "swim across the Atlantic Ocean" (only 3,462 miles).


Last month, Google Maps transformed a short walk into a journey of 18 minutes. "For most people, the journey from the Shelbourne Hotel at 200 Sussex Street to Google's Sydney headquarters across the road at 201 Sussex Street would be a 30-step, 30-second trip. But according to Google's new mapping service, the recommended route would see you take a 10.4-kilometre scenic detour that involves crossing the Harbour Bridge twice," reported Sydney Morning Herald in February.



In January, Digg uncovered that you had to make a lot of U-turns to get from Bensalem to North Brunswick. It turned out that Google's driving direction engine had a bug that created an infinite loop.



So next time take Google Maps' drive directions with a grain of salt.

{ via Blogoscoped }

69 comments:

  1. Is it just me, or are the latter two direction oddities fixed?

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  2. Yeah the first one is right on. You just looked at that and only think the later two are "fixed"? Way to read into something Columbo!

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    1. Now, if you want to go from I-494 in MN to LaLaLand, Bryon Bay NSW 2481, Australia, you have to kayak across the pacific ocean 3 times!


      Kayak across the Pacific Ocean
      Entering Hawaii
      About 341 hours
      go 2,756 mi
      total 4,405 mi

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    2. For getting to Australia from MN, kayak across the Pacific Ocean 3 times.

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  3. I love how Google tells you to go right down to the Boston pier and has you swim all the way to the port of France. Good attention to detail. :)

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  4. According to gMaps, it takes 29 days to swim the 3,463 miles of the Atlantic ocean. Thats a rate of 5 mi/hr, traffic permitting (hehe). In contrast the world record for Mens 1500 meter freestyle is 15min and 15 sec held by Thomas Lurz of Germany. That is a rate of about 3.7 mi/hr. Anyone up for a swim? =P

    Note: 29 day estimate is from gMap's driving directions starting at "Long Wharf, Boston, MA" and ending at "Pont Vauban, Seine-Maritime, Upper-Normandy, France"

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  5. 1) These are DRIVING directions, not WALKING directions. So Google Mapes take into account one-way roads.
    2) U-turns appear where it thinks the road is a divided highway, so you cannot simply turn left, you need to go to the place where the divider ends, do a U-turn, and go back to destination.

    So Google is smarter than you guys.

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  6. Sorry, WeshaTheLeopard, but you're wrong. The infinite U-Turns* was a bug. I didn't include the full screenshot, but there were 70 or more consecutive U-Turns. The directions have been fixed and look much better.

    *U-turn = performing a 180 degree rotation in order to reverse direction of travel.

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  7. OK, 70 U-turns is a little too much, true. But sometimes U-turns are justified. Let me show you. I choose the route that I can recall for sure, and though it's slightly off, it still illustrate the idea.

    So lookie here.

    The question is: why taking Diehl-Park-Shuman route when you could have taken Diehl-Washington-Shuman route which is 50% shorter?

    The answer is: Shuman is a divided street. You can turn left from Washington onto Shuman, but you can't turn left off Shuman into the parking lot. Google suggests one way of overcoming this. Another would be: turn right onto Washington; turn left onto Shuman; go to the intersection with Park; do a U-turn; drive on Shuman in the opposite direction till you hit the destination.

    The funniest part however: Shuman is NOT divided between Washington and destination (zoom in on sat picture); the divider starts a little further down the road. :)

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  8. The first picture looks like an April Fools prank (We are close to April 1st), while the others look like bugs or necesary upgrades (choose between driving or walking directions).

    Last week I had my run-in with one of these "glitches":
    I asked Maps to get me the driving directions from home to ah Hotel on the other side of the island (I live in Puerto Rico).
    I'm sure it generated a map with the shortest distance, but it took me through a panoramic road with a lot of hills and curves, instead of taking me through the express way. It took me an additional hour or more to get to my destination. Also, being this road part of a tourist atraction with a lot of shops on the way, traffic was heavy.

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  9. The first one was a glitch Danielle not an april fools joke :-). Try getting directions from New York, New York to Paris, France. Instruction 23 tell's you to swim nearly 2,500 miles across the ocaean LOL.

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  10. when you go from new york , new york to paris,france google says to swim across the atlantic ocean. why not charter a boat?

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  11. don't be so daft. of course it is a joke. it cannot possibly be a glitch! did you not bother to read the word SWIM right there??? how did that word pop up in a DRIVING instruction? loool@the guy trying to be smart by saying it's a glitch! hahahahaha!!!

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  12. It says 'get directions' so swimming is a perfectly acceptable mode of transport...

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  13. You can find the directions from "Here" to "There", they are located in France

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  14. I found some funny directions when I was searching for an indian restaurant near some place in washington,DC.
    34th direction was
    34. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean
    Entering United States (Massachusetts) - 3,462 mi

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  15. Even I found one funny direction when I was searching for an indian restaurant in DC.
    34th direction was ..
    34. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean
    Entering United States (Massachusetts) 3,462 mi
    29 days 0 hours

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  16. Why does Google assume everyone drives. In a place like inner London, more people are on foot - few drive. Yet there doesn't seem to be an ability to get 'foot' directions... And, because, there are many one-way streets, the driving directions are likely to be very different (that's why people walk, rather than drive)....

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  17. I think most of you are missing the point. Sometimes an automated mapping system makes mistakes that are funny to a rational human mind - appreciate the humor and move on.

    Why complain about google maps not offering driving directions / not avoiding tourist filled roads / etc.? If you don't like it, don't use it! From my perspective it's an amazing FREE tool that is incredibly helpful most of the time.

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  18. I think this is great... helps fight obesity with infinite walking loops (or an opportunity to burn some calories swimming at 5mph). Way to go, Google.

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  19. Sometimes they have to give directions like the middle one because they are DRIVING directions and those are one-way streets.

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  20. Whatever happened to the "Swim across the ocean" feature? I looked for it today.. It's no longer there?

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  21. Came across a Google "fail" last week...

    Go to maps.google.com.au (the Australian version), type in - Warners Bay to Charlestown

    Scroll down to direction 21... enjoy :)

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  22. I like how google assumes if you swim across the ocean that when you arrive in harbor, you will have your car with you.

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  23. you all need to look up the word pedantic

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  24. Try taking a trip from Vancouver to Japan

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  25. LOL
    But its gone now, the first was real I saw it a couple years ago

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  26. from san francisco to honolulu, it tells you to kiyak from portland to hawaii.

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  27. I miss the 'swim' directions.. :(

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  28. it says kayak when you are in drive mode and it says swim when you are in walk mode.
    type into directions, new lambton,australia to new york.
    it will tell you to drive the tip of australia then kayak to japan,drive around japan the kayak to america and drive to new york.

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  29. Crackin' up
    "I like how google assumes if you swim across the ocean that when you arrive in harbor, you will have your car with you. "
    Love it..

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  30. Go to: http://maps.google.com.au/

    Type in Warners Bay to Charlestown by car

    Scroll down to 44....

    Too funny!!

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  31. LMAO

    I like how it assumes you'll have a Kayak and also assumes you're capable of Kayaking 2,756 miles on a trip from the mainland to Hawaii.
    I wonder what Google has against a row boat or sailboat anyway?

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  32. aw,I like how it told us to swim, kayak, etc. I also like anonymous' humour. Sometimes we make too much of nothing. Appreciate the gesture to burn a TON of calories and be ALOT thinner at our destination, or at least burn 5 calories and laugh til you need the bathroom.

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  33. There's a good one right now between Tokyo and Shanghai. Step 48 recommends jet skiing a mere 782km across the Pacific Ocean.

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  34. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=japan&daddr=China&geocode=FRhxKAIdfJI9CCkvGX_XD05nNDFEUmZ81HVC9Q%3BFZw0IwIdReU1BinBQsblZI5QMTFvNp80fKodlQ&hl=en&mra=ls&ttype=dep&date=10%2F29%2F10&time=11:40am&noexp=0&noal=0&sort=time&sll=36.204824,138.252924&sspn=41.127795,79.013672&ie=UTF8&t=h&z=5

    take a look at direction number 43 hehe

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  35. Type: Japan to China and look at direction 43 ;P

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  36. Put in San Francisco, Ca as your start point and Honolulu, HI as your destination. Bring a few friends along. You're going to need them.

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  37. If you get directions from Japan to China, you have to jet ski across the pacific ocean.

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  38. Japan to the U.S. has you Kayak to Hawaii, then Kayak to Washington State & directs you to Kansas of all places! LOL

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  39. Oh Google Map please at least give shortest path!

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  40. Go Japan-Beijing First you jetski pasific osh then you drive afterwards to beijing. You're Probably going to have to have a big jetski to fit a car on it

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  41. go from Japan to China, #43 has you jet ski too! :) lol

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  42. Anonymous...Beijing is in China..

    So you're just looking at the same one..

    :)

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  43. Look up Japan to China. then look at #43 on the directions LOL

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  44. bahaha you need to find some new ones because they are all the same. >:( ;)

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  45. type in Simi Valley, CA to Honolulu HI, it tells you to kayak across the pacific.

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  46. There are these three options:
    Kina to Japan
    Japan to Taiwan
    USA to Japan

    That will give you three different ways to cross the pacific..

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  47. they tell you to drive, that's after you have swam the ocean, are you meant to carry the car with you and still go at 5mph????

    LOL

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  48. google maps has had me on the r300, off the r300, back on(its pretty much a straightish road)... adding 60mins to a 25min drive!!! not cool!

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  49. GOOGLE MAPS LOVES US.
    I GOT A GOOD TWO HOUR LAUGH FEST FROM THIS.
    NOT KIDDING XD

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  50. I can't look this up anymore ..
    Most of the errors are remover bij google i think.
    if you want to go from UK to USA, the road could not be calculated ..
    Too bad ..

    Anybody knows what lies around Isla de La Palma, Spain? Looks like soms markings on the bottom of the ocean ..
    Anybody having an Idea ??

    Greetings from Holland ;)

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  51. Put directions into Google maps with Japan being your start point and China being your checkpoint, read direction #42!
    Haha, very funny!

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  52. It told me to kayak from Italy to nj then to take u turn on a jet ski :-)

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  53. I think whoever gets their panties in a twist over the directions over water is a bit thick to be honest, of course it is going to tell you to travel over the sea if you ask to go from one country to another.

    It's not going to say 'part the seas like moses' or 'drop some kryptonite into the sea and create a bridge from crystals' or 'invent a teleporter' is it?

    You're a bit stupid if you think you can drive from california to sweden.

    Of course it's going to say 'swim' - with the intelligence level of some idiots driving their cars into seas and rivers, "because my sat-nav told me to..." At least they got the idiot out of their car first, saving emergency services and insurance companies a bundle of cash.

    If i was google, I would code that - hoping some complete muppet may think twice.

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  54. TO: anonymous october 10,2011 12:13 AM

    YOU, MY FRIEND, IS A PARTY POOPER. Go back to your home and poop on your own toilet.

    Can't these people just for few seconds of their highly intelligent life, act stupid for a while? They were just having fun. Its like, why do you call a weed smoker/stoner stupid(because they do drugs) and not to people who drinks alcohol?

    These things on google maps told us to swim, just want to give a smile to our face because we searched for a non-logical query, so that is why they give a funny answer back. Its called 'easter-egg' put there by their programmer. If nobody typed words like 'swim' 'kayak' 'jetski' it won't be there at all. So why won't you call those programmer an idiot instead?

    Its a happy world out there, and you, deserve not to go out from you room because you ain't worth it out here.

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  55. I'd seen the one about kayaking across the Pacific Ocean before, but I never knew that it would tell you to jet ski!

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  56. This is a good one I found on 12-20-11...
    Walking directions
    From: The Shire
    To: Mordor
    After you click "Get Directions" this pops up.

    "Use caution-One does not simply walk into Mordor"

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  57. Lol at least we know they got a sense of humor... i was amused. Especially with the mordor one :P

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  58. From Japan to China, it tells you to JET SKI across the Pacific Ocean.
    Wow. :$

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  59. tooo funny!!!!! just wasted 30 min and let my drink get hot looking up dumb stuff on google maps!!!!! MORDOR one was halarious... shocking as well....

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  60. Going from USA to China walking it tells you to Kayak across the Pacific Ocean on step 686

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  61. All of those years and resources wasted looking for Osama bin Laden. The should have just used Google maps. Search Iraq to Osama bin Laden's compound. It shows exactly where he wad hiding in Pakistan.

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  62. Put in A: The shire to B: Mordor and choose walking directions
    read the caution above the direction steps freakin' hilarious :D

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  63. Now the directions from NYC, USA to Paris, France direct you to go west to Seattle, WA, then swim across Pacific to Hawaii, swim again to Asia where you are directed to drive through Asia and Europe to reach France. Too funny!

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