Friday, June 14, 2013

14. Mapping kittens

I've been doing the Mapping with Google MOOC and really enjoying exploring what the new maps application can do. There's no firm release date for it yet, but you can request to play with the beta version here. One big change is the level of personalisation. For example, when you set it up, you can tell the program to remember your home and work address to make it quicker to find directions to and from a place. You can also tell it to remember your favourite restaurants / cafes / businesses by saving them or reviewing them, and the program will remind you about them if you're in the area again (although, that could be a bit annoying...)

How is it that Google knows exactly what your mean, even if you don't type in to the search exactly what you mean? I just completely mis-spelt the name of a Perth suburb in the search box, but it still found it for me. I put the name of the vet clinic I went to today, just Hanley's Vet, and it gave me the address perfectly. No need to worry about addresses any more, just use a name.

Another good thing is the real-time information. Like you can see the traffic speed on the different roads along your route, and if they are red (colour code for slow-moving) you can drag your route away from these areas. Like the old maps, you can see the distance and the time it will take with various forms of transport (now including flight!). Even hiking tracks and designated bike routes are given - yay! One thought - this is a desktop / laptop program... it's not for mobile devicces. But isn't maps most useful when you're on the go??

Today I had to take my two kittens to the vet to get sterilised and microchipped. I used Maps to find the quickest route of course, but on the way back I wanted to stop off and get some samosas from my favourite Nepalese restaurant but I wasn't sure if it was open at 5pm. The new Maps could've told me, but the current one can't. I ended up going to the UrbanSpoon app for that info and a menu (although found out later that the prices were from 2 years ago!). I wonder if I'll be able to see my cats' microchips blipping away on Maps one day... ; )

By the way, Hina and Mochi (that's Princess and Rice Cake in English) survived their operation and are recovering nicely!