Google Made Me Late. Twice.

What’s wrong with this picture, an accurate looking, detailed snapshot of a Google Map of a perfectly charming neighborhood in Manhattan? Let me tell you. It isn’t accurate. The subway information is wrong. And how do I know this? Because I trusted it was correct and ended up whizzing right past Christopher Street on the 2 train and having to do the panic-stricken reverse local train ride of shame familiar to anyone who’s ever taken the subway in NYC.

Now I’m perfectly prepared to admit that I am often directionally and public transitly challenged. That is *precisely* why I still consult a map, eight years after moving to live here. But this is the second time this has happened to me in recent weeks. I had ended up being wildly, mortifyingly late to hear Jake Barton talk about his work on the National September 11 Memorial Museum. That time, again after consulting Google Maps, I took the N train to City Hall, only to end up chugging over the bridge into Brooklyn. And that time I thought I must have simply read the map wrong or that perhaps recent changes to the line had made things screwy.

But this latest incident sent me back to check. And sure enough, Google has the N train serving City Hall. The MTA does not.

Now, I know, I know. It’s a free service and it’s really amazing and Google Earth is fantastic and look, I can see the house I grew up in and I’m sure there’s some perfectly reasonable explanation for the error. But I am a picky, demanding, unforgiving 21st century type, and now I’m suspicious of Google Maps and I suspect that their accurate-seeming information is actually baloney. And as we all know, trust is the currency of the age and once it’s gone it’s ever so hard to win back. So, dear Google. Don’t make me frown at you and wonder if you mean what you say. Please fix your map and don’t make me late again.

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3 thoughts on “Google Made Me Late. Twice.

  1. I had a similar experience this week while in Seattle as I tried in vain to walk over to a nearby Top Pot donuts, being sent along a “street” that had no sign and was actually a gravel path of sorts that led under the freeway and in fact had a giant No Trespassing fence that stymied me. I was walking someplace that connoted and then denoted “you shouldn’t be here” because Google told me too. There’s a bit of we-know-best in their design because what options did I have at that point? I turned around and went back to my hotel, eventually trying again on transit to another location. Other than griping Google doesn’t want our collective input to help then really nail the details either. They aren’t Big Brother but they seem Big Father.

  2. Nice post. I have the same directional difficulties (also after 8 years here). It’s amazing that such errors on Google’s NYC maps have lasted. Either no one else has noticed and tried to do something about it or they have a really poor process to make corrections.

  3. I share your pain; they directed me to use a later and less frequent bus now I’m nearly an hour late for work; I’m just lucky my mgmt is very forgiving

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