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New and Vastly Improved Google Maps

Looks like Google engineers have been busy adding some interesting features to how directional maps are served up. Besides the usual car, transit, and walking routes, there is now a route for bikes which takes you between cities on surface streets. A good feature to have in bike friendly neighborhoods like Portland, Minneapolis, or Boulder.

The addition of clickable icons on a street map is nice to have. If I had to guess, I'd say that the companies, parks, bus stops that appear on the map are from existing data points that users either put in themselves (like adding a company's office or HQ to the map) or Google was able to bulk upload to their data universe. The fantastic feature here is being able to pinpoint a company's location within a complex of buildings, like at a mall. The example below is of the Bellevue Square Mall in Bellevue WA.


2013-06-23, Bellevue Square Mall Snapshot
2013-06-23, a pretty clean list of driving suggestions
The biggest quirk I can see is when the map engine tries to give a solution to a transit route that makes no sense. If you don't start with a transit center as a starting point, you could get transit routes that take up to 8 hours. The custom date/time setting for a future route is a bit clunkier than what was there before with a separate popup for it. Transit to Everett is not an option with wait times and in-transit time being up to 1.5 hours each way; who has that kind of luxury? It is still faster by fossil-fuel-burning car, though mostly because it would be a reverse traffic commute.
Ugh. Most of the time, you see, is from walking!
I am not going to walk 2.8 miles a day when it is
25 degrees out and sleeting.
Electric Mirror, used in this example, is a topic for a different post. The company manufactures Vive(tm), which is a Bluetooth-enabled TV mirror (a mirror when not in use, a television that fits in the space of a mirror; how neat is that??) Their global HQ is in Everett and I am just using their location in this example.

I wonder if hills are taken into consideration for walking directions. The walking route is impractical in this scenario.
2013-06-23, Walking directions from Bothell to Everett



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