Does Google Maps Google?


Are you a frequent user of Google Maps? Well, I am sure you are. Everyone of us feed on Google Maps every now and then, don’t we? This web mapping service is now an integral part of our everyday lives. Right from booking a cab, to choosing a path less congested with traffic, to looking up a address or rather eagerly waiting for the delivery person from our favourite food delivery app.

But are these maps accurate and reliable all the time? Are Google maps accurate all the time serving reliable results to every user?

Perhaps, most of the time yes, but like all the handwash ads which assure 99.9% bacteria being killed, likewise, Google maps are also 99.9% accurate. I would like to substantiate my statement with an instance, where more than hundreds of drivers were led into a narrow mud laden field after Google Maps suggested a detour in Denver, as reported by CNN.

This instance was also reported by one Denver Channel, which said, “About 100 cars formed a line on the road and got stuck behind a couple of cars that couldn’t make it through the mud. They couldn’t make a U-turn as the road was only wide enough for one car at a time.”

Similarly, have you given a thought about how does Google Maps, provide us the results as to which road has extreme traffic and which would be best alternative?

Many of the readers might already know it but for those who are wondering, Google gets these information from its android devices. As stated by William Chen, Former Data Science Manager at Quora, “Crowdsourcing. When you enable My Location, you send data over to Google about how fast you’re moving. Google aggregates everyone’s data and reports it back on your route.”

Guwahati dwellers use Google Maps the most, well let me ask frequent cab users, a detour suggests a road which would lead to your destination earlier than the usual route and after choosing, the detour is actually congested with Rickshaws, hand-carts and cycles and not even one of them use their ‘My Location’ (if at all one has an android phone)? Then what?

Then, we keep cursing ourselves or the cab driver more of choosing the detour even after having a second thought of keeping on the usual route.

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