Google is my co-pilot

Google’s car navigation for Android phones is pretty good.

The majority of my work is 9 to 5 weekdays but when I need to make (fully approved, vetted, it’s-not-my-fault-and-I-won’t-do-it-again) production changes I have to wait for after 5 PM. Depending on the potential impact, I have to wait until Saturday. This weekend the group I work in was doing Big and Potentially Terrible Things™ and I was part of that.

Yesterday I left the house at 5 AM, drove to Queens and Chinatown to pick up 2 co-workers, and drove 2 and a half hours to Princeton, NJ. I got home after 8 PM. And I used the Google Maps Navigation for Mobile Beta (GMNMB?) as my tool to get there. I turned on Bluetooth (I was in the car), Wi-fi, and GPS and plugged my phone into the car charger. The cup holder doubled as my GPS mount.

My phone has GPS, Verizon assisted, and Google assisted location services and I turned it all on. I did not expect wi-fi to work exactly but I wanted to use that to narrow down my position. It worked fantastically and suggested routes that I would never have thought of. Before 8 AM the drive was uneventful and except for my pal who knew better, the navigation worked well.

When I drove home, instead of suggesting the painful Holland Tunnel to BQE which it did on the way there, it lead me to Staten Island and eventually to the Belt Parkway. It took me just 2 and a half hours to get home about 100 miles away.

Yes, that doesn’t sound breathtakingly fast but I drove through New Jersey, Staten Island, and Brooklyn on a Saturday evening. Fellow New Yorkers who drive will know what I’m taking about.

The map data does not live on my phone and it’s all downloaded and cached from off of the Internet. This entire solution is dependent upon good connectivity. If I were driving to a desert in Arizona then I would use a Garmin or TomTom. But for driving in a metropolitan area this solution can’t be beat.