Google Loses its Glitter

Starship Farragut premiered their two new “Crew Logs” mini-episodes today. I’d been planning to attend the premier and post a short review of the new episodes, but my plans didn’t quite work out.

In a rather infamous incident six years ago, I got lost on my way to Ocean City. It was my first-ever time going there and in the end, it took me six hours versus the three it took my friends. I have no doubt that the directions MapQuest gave me were accurate, but they involved following a number of unmarked back roads. I haven’t used MapQuest since.

For the past several years, I’ve been using Google Maps without significant problems. I’ve been increasingly concerned about Google lately though. They’ve been rolling out a variety of new features (e.g. Street Views), but it appears the core mapping system is suffering from a lack of attention. Two months ago, I discovered a park which in reality is just a couple miles up the road was supposedly located on the other side of the county. More recently, a street which had been labeled correctly for the past five years suddenly had all of its street numbers reversed (I truly hope that no Emergency Services use Google for anything important.)

Today was strike three for Google Maps. I knew the Farragut premier was at the University of Maryland’s Hoff Theater, but never having been there, I needed directions. Not to worry though, I visited Google Maps, typed in “Hoff Theater” and Google quickly popped up a set of directions. All was good. Or so I thought.

The route from Google dropped me into the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no theaters of any sort, just a “hole in the wall” restaurant, a couple nearby gas stations, and a whole heck of a lot of houses.

I don’t blame the Farragut folks for this. Heck, I probably shouldn’t blame Google either. Instead, I should have looked around on the University of Maryland’s web site to see if they had directions. The worst of it is, from my previous experiences, I should have known better than to trust Google.

By the time I got myself sorted out, it was already 4:30 and by my reckoning, the Starship Farragut event was likely halfway over. On my way out, I spotted a sign for the University of Maryland campus, but by then I didn’t see much point.

Hopefully the Farragut Crew Logs were well-received. I’m looking forward to seeing them.

But for now, I need to find a better source of maps.