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:
“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.”