Google Maps is an Enigma Wrapped in a Logic Bomb

Google Maps is a mindbender. The GPS technology is accurate because it relies on other smartphone users. When it spots a traffic jam, it reroutes you to avoid the delay. But if it tells everyone to switch routes, doesn’t that contradict the whole point?

8 thoughts on “Google Maps is an Enigma Wrapped in a Logic Bomb

  1. Maybe Google maps will be run for the benefit of the insiders, just like stock market advisers.

    When the insider wants an advantage, he need only signal everyone to change his route (or his investment/gambling strategy) to find an open road (or a killing in the market) ahead of him, thanks to the suckers who take the advice of the insiders.

  2. Curiously, I may have observed this effect in the real world. By arcane means I have been able to apprehend a traffic jam at a certain likely point on one of my routes at a considerable distance and thus get around it using an alternate route. I used to be one of the few wise guys who could do this, but lately when this happens I’ve noticed a large mob of jam escapers following me who I suspect have been alerted by Google. Logic is faster than Google, but not much faster. They’re catching up.

    However, there is no better solution to the problem for Google because there is only the one alternate route and it is a narrow back road. If the main route gets jammed, it is only a matter of time (a few minutes) before the alternate also jams.

  3. hmmm, well – people have been known to follow their GPS’ directions into a lake, for instance. “Okay Google – get these other cars out of my way…”

  4. But Ted, consider how many ads can be exposed to the eyeballs of hapless passengers while drivers are attempting to follow the instructions on Google Maps. A win-win !… 😉


  5. Crowd sourced traffic rerouting..bad idea….routing by advertising WORSE !

    The Simpsons about two weeks ago had a eerie automobile prediction, routing by advertising. The show predicted Trump in the White House and over a dozen other oddities years before they happened, creative minds often make the best futurist.

    A free electric self driving car, Homer was one the test drivers and Springfield was the test city. A first things went well and Marge was hired after bringing snacks to boost employee morale. Everyone in town was happy with the free cars and Marge liked working at the same company as Homer. Then startup turned on their money making advertising program, the car began listening to everything said in the car and took people to sponsors that have bought key words. Example, if the car heard some say I am tired, you could wind up at the mattress store or a hotel, that bought the word tired.
    Homer and Mr Burns where ready to have Mr. Simithers wipe out the hard drive but Marge was opposed until she found about phase two. At the end of the show the silicon valley power couple that founded the car company where going turn on a key fob feature that listened everything said and uploaded the info into car routing by advertising program. Marge couldn’t take the idea that everything said in ladies room would be recorded and analysed, so she pushed the final key to wipe the program out.

    Some high tech is great but some of it needs limits. No heroes or cartoon characters will save the day, if there is money to be made companies won’t show restraint unless there there are laws with teeth to block them and or mass consumer boycotts.

    • @oldvet

      > companies won’t show restraint unless there there are laws with teeth to block them and or mass consumer boycotts.

      Can’t argue with that – but the downside is I don’t see it happening. Consider the Cable Consumer Bill of Rights which the FCC no longer enforces. Why? Because said act does not contain the word “digital” so it doesn’t apply to digital equipment. Neither does it contain the word “analog” – but that doesn’t deter them, there’s money to be made! (even when they did ‘enforce’ it, the cable companies routinely ignored it, and illegal collusion with equipment manufacturers made it impossible for consumers to benefit anyway)

      Or how about the CAN-SPAM act? It’s known as the I-CAN-SPAM act to geeks, cuz it does nothing to stop spam. It doesn’t enforce anything, it’s a civil suit that can only be brought by companies who can prove their bottom line has been affected. To date, nobody’s actually won a case against spammers; and there are no remedies whatsoever for Joe Consumer.

      Federal Do not call list? – yeah, tell that to the telemarketers I verbally abuse on a daily basis.

      The gubbmint ain’t agonna help us here, folks, it’s up to us.

      Take spam – whenever I get spam from some theoretically upstanding company I unleash my inner Tourette’s sufferer. It doesn’t do any good other than releasing steam – but if EVERYONE reacted the way I do you can bet they’d stop.

      It takes “EVERYONE” – but most people just shrug and accept it. Everyone hates cyber-stalking ads – but has anyone done anything? Facebook knows you better than you know yourself, and again, everyone just accepts it as the new normal.

      Hope, I have not – but I’ll keep flaming spammers and telemarketers anyway. SOMEbody has to carry on the fight.

      • I agree nothing more than talk and slaps on the wrist seems to happen unless a crowd dies or fraud reaches Enron levels.
        PG&E is the power company that covers most California north of Los Angeles and in most places it is PG&E or nothing for you electricity and gas. The are a privately run monopoly that is regulated but the regulators are often in the pocket of PG&E.

        Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has agreed to pay $86.5 million over 164 allegedly improper backdoor communications it had with state regulators over a five year period that critics seized on as proof of an overly cozy relationship. Under the deal, PG&E ratepayers get $73.5 million in bill credits and other offsets between now and 2019. The settlement – which has to be approved by the commission — is the final chapter in the email scandal that broke back in 2014.
        So what happen with under regulated monopoly…
        The San Bruno PG&E gas line explosion, 8 dead, 58 injured. In response to the disaster and a subsequent decision (D.11-06-017) by the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E unveiled a plan in August 2011 to modernize and enhance safety of its gas transmission operations over several years, including automation of over 200 valves, strength-testing over 700 miles of pipe, replacing 185 miles, and upgrading another 200 miles (320 km) or so to allow in-line inspection. Project funding of $769 million was the subject of a PG&E application (R.11-02-019) for a three-year increase in gas rates starting January 2012

        Then comes PG&E problems with electrical power lines. The 2017 North Bay Fire and 2018 Camp Fire (both likely sparked by high winds downing power lines) resulted in more death and destruction. The State is investigating the idea of breaking up PG&E to get safer power. As it stands now PG&E underfunds safety to keep investors happy and they come back to the state unity commission for a rate increase when they need funds to cover lawsuits.

        SMUD in Sacramento is publicly owned and seems not to have the problems of PG&E. Of course public agencies need to watched too but they are not trying to squeeze out bigger returns for share holders.

        People show be up in arms but everyone is working extra hours or second job to survive

  6. As usual, Ted gets his facts right. This is a reality in New York already, according to Nate Silver. Drivers often have a choice between the West Side Highway and the East Side Highway. In an effort to avoid a traffic jam on one side of town, mapping services have inadvertently created traffic jams on the other side. of town The 21st century is not as smart as it thinks it is.

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