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The Grumpy Old Technologist’s Chronicles

It's amazing when technology companies 1) deliver wonderful platforms, full of features 2) make your life so much better when their tech becomes an integral part of your life. Yet when the grumpy old technologist notices a key feature is missing, it becomes a blot on an otherwise near-perfect product!

~ Written by Richard Fall.

Case in point: Google Maps (and Apple Maps and other navigation tools, I’m sure) is an undeniably integral part of our lives today.  We use it to navigate from point A to point B.   We use it to find the nearest restaurant, look at the menu, find out when it’s open, and make a reservation.

Superb!  Life is so much easier!

Except…

Here I am driving down the freeway, on a trip from one office to another for client meetings.  I look down, see that I’m just about out of gas, and realize I have no idea where the nearest gas station is.

“No problem”, I say to myself–I bring out the iPhone, press the button, ask Siri “find the nearest gas station” and wait for her to do her job.

“Here’s what I’ve found for you”, she says.  And the list of the nearest gas stations, when shown as pins on the overview map, are all behind me.  She’s showing me stations that I have to turn around to get to.

A station 20 miles in front of me is almost certainly more useful than a station 10 miles behind me–but Siri doesn’t take that into account.

Why, oh, why isn’t it possible for Google Maps to take into account my direction of travel and, knowing I’m on a freeway, provide direction-dependent results?  Or, allow me to say “Siri, find the nearest gas station in my direction of travel“?

It’s not that hard.

Come on, Google and Apple–get with it.  Give a feature to your users that is really important when they need it.

The grumpy old technologist says “Make it happen!”

Because if you don’t, the Grumpy old technologist is going to hop in his car and come looking for you–as soon as he can find a gas station nearby.

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