Google Maps Navigation: Plastics In Brookline

My big review of Google Maps Navigation is now up on the Sun-Times site. It’s a very neat app with a great many vastly cool features. It isn’t perfect, but the features that are there are damned sweet.

The review is a long one. This was a complicated week. Instead of writing it all at once in a single, uninterrupted session, I wrote many bits and pieces all week long and as a result, the review is probably two or three different pieces under one roof.

Nonetheless, the review is still missing one thing.

The app’s killer feature is Voice Search. Hold down the Search button, wait for the microphone icon to appear, and then tell the app where you want to go.

“Navigate to Vista Donuts in Attleboro,” I said. The app transmogrified my speech to text, did a Google Maps search, and found the address of the donut shop.

It works great. You can even say “Navigate to post office” and it’ll simply find you the ones closest to your location.

But you can’t expect it to recognize every word, proper noun, and regional pronunciation.

“Navigate to Zaftigs in Brookline,” I asked. I pronounce the name of my favorite Boston restaurant as “ZOFF-tigs.” The app couldn’t find a match.

It did offer four guesses. They were all wrong. The fourth was spectacularly wrong.

I told this tale in the review but a fine, respected newspaper like The Chicago Sun-Times certainly couldn’t print the following screenshot:

Bad Speech Recognition in Google Nav

“Is this Google Maps, or Craigslist Maps?” I thought, after I’d regained my composure. Hey, if you’re going to misinterpret an English command, you might as well offer up something more entertaining than “Egg Freckles.”

15 thoughts on “Google Maps Navigation: Plastics In Brookline

  1. lost_poet

    Gawds, I almost sprayed my MacBook through my nose when I saw that.

    May be it should have a ‘safe search locking’ feature too, just in case kinds and family are around ;)

  2. Daniel Schneller

    as for your worries about keeping gps on while in airplane mode, relax, as it is receive only. it will not send out any radio waves to interfere with the plane. its just consuming what is already there, just as the plane probably is, too. :)

  3. Zan

    Well, if you do a search for “suck dicks in brookline” in desktop google maps it directs you to the Orpheum Theatre. Why? Because apparently a comedian called Lewis CK appears at this theatre, and google links to an article interviewing him, where he has a joke regarding “suck a bag of dicks” as his big opening/closing schtick.

    Incidentally you could probably also say “sad hand job in brookline” and it would also come up in the nav app due to the same interview :D

    Last but not least “rape a baby gorilla in brookline” should also work !!!!

  4. GC Myers

    Thanks for the laugh. Wow that was funnier than I thought it was going to be. I was reading the Sun Times site. BTW, I actually get a physical newspaper, but I have to go online to read Andy. I think it should be in the paper too since I actually spend money on it.

  5. Pingback: Andy Ihnatko's Celestial Waste of Bandwidth (BETA) » The Seven Words You Can’t Say In A Dragon iPhone App

  6. Richard Baker

    Very well written post. If you need to listen to BBC Radio on the iPhone – I strongly recommend BBC Streams – it is easily the most convenient way to listen to BBC Radio on the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and it’s free at

Comments are closed.