Posted July 22, 2008 5:38 pm by with 13 comments

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Wow. I feel like Google really hears me. First, they make Gmail’s contact system less invasive, and now they add walking directions to Google Maps!

google maps walking directions beta

I do a small dance of happiness!

Now, I know there are those of you wondering why this even matters, what difference walking directions makes. Or, as one commenter put it:

Walking directions? Whatever happened to just showing up, facing your body in the direction you wanted to go, and walking?

Of course, the simple answer to the smart alecky question is “I tried that, but I kept walking into things—buildings, oncoming traffic . . . rivers” (return snark for snark is a Biblical injunction, isn’t it?).

The Google Maps blog post announcing the addition gives a good explanation (also with pictures), but here’s mine for an unfamiliar city (New York) for a single turn:
driving around the corner in new york with Google Maps
walking around the corner with Google Maps
Granted, yes, you should be able to figure out how to walk around the corner without the help of Google Maps (driving in a city full of one-way streets, though . . . that’s another story).

But when mapping programs don’t offer pedestrians and tourists walking directions, the misadventures can be myriad—not the least of which is potentially walking a lot further than necessary because of said one-way streets. Odds are good that there are more than one corner between you and your destination, and do you want to walk six times the necessary distance to get there?

I’m sure, however, that most people have no need to be convinced of the usefulness of walking directions. Instead, they’re wondering what took Google so long, especially given that other mapping programs, including Microsoft and, until recently, Ask, have had them for ages. Me too.

  • Utah SEO Pro

    A very nice addition to an already good product. Very great for mobile people on-the-go.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..Advanced Keyword Research for SEO

  • PS3

    We used Google Maps on a GPS enabled Blackberry yesterday to find a venue in Shephered Bush, worked a treat (was off to seal Seal in concert – no, not the nice looking sea creatures with flappy arms!)

  • Otilia Otlacan

    I love the ‘use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas’ advice 😀 That’s something my mother would say… or a lawyer concerned with absurd lawsuits that may come from people who ended up in dark alleys!

    Otilia Otlacan’s last blog post..MIXX Awards 2008 Reach Record Number of Entries, Secure Their Place as Premier Interactive Advertising Recognition

  • Erik

    I use google maps on my motoQ all the time for driving directions on business trips. But walking directions is an even bigger help.

    Sometimes I get stuck in a city walking around and have no idea where to go. Go stuff!

    Erik’s last blog post..WordPress User Video Upload Script as a PHP Consultant

  • Ashley

    It is an effective way to help people who need any walking directions

  • Nicole Price

    Another smart alecky question could well be, what about the nice old fashioned asking for directions? Have we become so isolated even in a crowd that we cannot ask someone for directions?

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Greetings for Free

  • Jordan McCollum

    @Nicole—what if no one will talk to you? What if no one knows where it is that you’re going, and you don’t know any intermediate points, landmarks or addresses? Worse yet, what if they (accidentally or maliciously) steer you wrong?


    Pretty cool! It also works in google maps uk.

  • online advertising in san diego, ca

    google’s engineers have the best jobs…I can just see them in the board room slamming red bulls and going nuts on the white board creating everything and anything useful…

    OK enough envy…you go google!

  • Alex Steed [of Make Something Happen]

    Does this mean that Hopstop will soon be dead?

    Alex Steed [of Make Something Happen]’s last blog post..By: Interview with Lawrence Lessig | TakePart Blog Network

  • Tiffany

    Great improvement! I’ll check out if this also available for my country.

  • CH Web Design

    These guys just keep making their applications better and better! Where will it end?

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