OK Google, figure this one out…

I had an argument with my phone this morning in my car. I’ve been using the hands-free features more often, trying to get used to them, so this morning I woke up my phone with “OK Google, navigate to work.” This has worked many times in the past without issue. This time, however, I was instructed to make some strange turns at odd times, definitely going in the wrong direction, though the ETA looked about right. That’s the main reason I use it–just so I know about what time I’ll be at work–so I can squeeze in a few other things before work whenever possible. So I argued with my phone, tellling it a few times that “this isn’t right!” and “You must be joking!”, but of course, these arguments weren’t stated with “OK Google”, so they didn’t do any good for either one of us. I knew that, obviously, but my phone seemed to be having a brain fart, so I just argued with it to be just as ridiculous.

So once it was obvious I was going to the wrong location, I asked Google “OK Google, what is my Work address?” My phone then displayed my Home and Word Addresses. My Home address looked fine, but my Work address said “Lindenhurst, IL” with no address. It not only “forgot” my address, but also had the wrong city! This made me a little angry, but I was driving, so I said “OK Google, navigate to…” and I spoke the entire address of my work. That worked fine, and now I was navigating to the right location. When I got to work later on, I checked my “Edit work and home” settings in Google Maps on my phone and they were both correct! The exact correct address was stored for both locations! I’m pretty confused at this point. When I google the question “What is my Work address” I do get just “Lindenhurst, IL”, and it says “Contacts – Only you can see this result” at the top of the search result. I checked my contacts, and I don’t have an entry named “Work” though. Not even anything close. Where it’s getting this “Contact” information from, I have no idea. I just wish Google Maps would default to it’s OWN stored Home & Work locations instead of trying to be smarter by looking elsewhere.

Update:  Issue Resolved!  Apparently, there’s a Contact with my name on it that it checks.  So “Jim Trottier” has my Home and Work addresses, and Work said “Lindenhurst, IL”.  I corrected it.  <sigh>

Google Navigation is gone!?!

Wow, my phone gave me a little scare this morning!  I got up early to get ready for a day-trip we’re going on today to a place I haven’t been before, so I was going to check Google Navigation to see how long it will take to get there, and it was gone!!  After some digging and not finding the icon anywhere on my phone, I remembered that I was able to always get to it from Google Maps as well.  So then I looked for Google Maps.  Luckily, THAT one was still there.  And there it was, now apparently embedded within Google Maps.  Upon further googling, I found that it has ALWAYS been integrated in Google Maps, they just provided a separate icon to go directly to the Navigation feature.  Sheesh.  So why take away the icon?  Why not leave it and just have it launch the same app?  Nevermind, I use Nova Launcher so I can actually do that myself.

It looks good though.  I love the new features so far.  Since Google bought Waze (the only other navigation app I really like) it looks like they just integrated a lot of the features of Waze into Maps now.  I’ll see how it does today, on our trip.  I’ll be using it like crazy today.  Now I can’t wait to see if they include the “goodies” pickups and points from Waze over the holidays, and what they actually do with the Waze app itself!

UPDATE: 7/14/13 – Well, our day trip is over.  I used the new navigation in Google Maps a great deal yesterday, and I must say, something is wrong with it.  It’s “glitchy”.  The entire time, as I drove, the map objects were flickering and jumping from place to place on the screen.  This included the road and building text as well as some of the background graphic blocks, like grass sections.  Sometimes large blocks covering large chunks of the screen, like from top to bottom of the right third of the screen would just start flashing rapidly.  It made it very annoying and hard to use.  I tried a photo reboot, and also closed all other apps, but nothing helped.  I hope there’s an update soon to fix this.  It’s really intolerable, and I’ll have to go back to using Waze until they fix it.

Walking the line

CardioTrainerI try to walk every chance I get during lunchtime at work (30 minutes), and I use Cardiotrainer.  It keeps me informed every few minutes by announcing my distance, speed and calories, and it also records my walk on a map, allowing me to see exactly where I walked. Over time I’ve noticed that these maps result in some rather interesting shapes, and I could see how it would be very easy for someone to actually draw things during their walks, much like those who leave giant messages that only something like Google Maps can actually see. I uploaded few of my recent walks, most of them 30-minute periods over lunch at work.  Take a look.

I find it interesting how some of them make me look drunk, zig-zagging back and forth a lot.  I think GPS measurements vary a bit more depending on cloud and/or wind  conditions… in ADDITION to my usually trippy walking style, that is…

Google Maps 5 coming soon to Android devices

Version 5 of Google Maps has just been announced for Android.  It will be released “in a matter of days,” and most Android users should be able to download it free, at that point.

Coming with the Maps update will be the end of tiling.  Whoohoo!  It will use vectors, which brings the ability to see maps in 3D (see screenshot). For anyone who has used Google Earth on their Android device knows, Maps will now let you tilt and rotate any map with your fingers.

Equally as notably is the addition of offline caching, making those long trips to areas with data deadzones less scary. Besides keeping the map/route on file, the offline cache will also be able to reroute if you miss that exit and don’t have continuous data. The update will be available for all Android devices with 2.2, and possibly for all with 2.1, as well. I have a 2.1 device, so I’m a little nervous at this point… I REALLY want to be able to use this update!! I use Google Navigation daily.