Google Lat Long: A new Google Maps app for smartphone and tablets

Google is releasing a new map program for tablets. Since the demise of the original mapping program that came stock with Apple iPads and iPhones until iOS 5, I have felt that neither the Apple replacement nor the Google free-standing app have been as good as the original. I look forward to trying the new Lat Long out.

For the record (and I hope Google reads my blog!) there are a few peculiarities that I wish they would fix. Don't get me wrong, all of these popups for great restaurants and flags showing where your friends are sounds really cool, but I just don't need those features as much as I need features for great driving and getting un-lost experiences.

Here are a few of my suggestions:

  • When the big blue line covers a proposed route, don't let the line obscure the street names or route numbers. VERY annoying when driving. Very annoying.
  • Allow the "traffic" view to be your default (I mean, why wouldn't it be?)
  • When you zoom in to get a better view it sometimes suddenly shifts into a sort of pseudo-3D view and the map starts swinging around. You quickly lose perspective of where you are and which way you are going. Lose that or make it an option. Allow your direction to be straight toward the top of the screen. That is how most of us think about where we are. The road we are traveling is always ahead of us (at least it should be.
  • When you are driving and looking at the map in "traffic" view, allow the map to be projected out to the next screenful by pressing an icon on the screen. It could be the FF icon ">>". What I mean is this: Let's say your scale makes the screen width equal to 2 miles. When you press the >> icon, it would progress forward on the street/road you are on by 2 miles. Repeated presses would jump you forward in 2 mile increments. 
  • Take that same metaphor and make an icon that looks like >> When you press this icon, you would be whooshed forward on the same road you currently are on (or along your route if you are following a route) up to the point where there is a blockage or traffic issue. Once there, it would give you an indication of how far ahead of you the problem is, so you can make adjustments or just wait it out if it doesn't look so bad.
  • Remember that even though we may be driving, we might be glancing at our tabs from time to time to figure out where we are. Make it easy to maneuver the program with one hand and make it both left and right handed so that your thumb can comfortably access the icons and control buttons.
Well, that about covers it for now as I embark upon a road trip midday. I hope Google is listening. I know the NSA is...

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