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Hotel Doorman More Reliable Than Google Maps Mobile

As I was preparing to leave Chicago today, I needed to find the nearest subway stop to my hotel. I fired up Google Maps Mobile on my phone and attempted to find one. Let's just say that the charming locals working the doors of Chicago's finest hotels outperformed Google Maps.
As I was preparing to leave Chicago today, I needed to find the nearest subway stop to my hotel. I fired up Google Maps Mobile on my phone and attempted to find one. Let's just say that the charming locals working the doors of Chicago's finest hotels outperformed Google Maps.First, I used the MyLocation feature to pinpoint the area of Chicago I was in. Given the downtown environment and density of cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, Google Maps was able to pinpoint my location to within one block of my hotel. Not bad. The map, however, did not show any Metro stations.

So I performed a search within Google Maps for "metro stations". To my delight, tiny little blue boxes started appearing on the screen. After a minute or so, it had populated the entire downtown area with over a dozen Metro stop locations. I zeroed in on the one closest to my hotel, figured out how to get there, and felt confident about navigating successfully.

But, just for the heck of it, on the way out of my hotel I asked the doorman if the intersection I was given on Google Maps was the best choice. I showed him the map. He said, "There's a Metro station much closer than this one." He proceeded to give me new directions. I looked at the map, and there was no little Blue Metro station indicator at the intersection he told me to go to. But this unlisted Metro stop was less than half the distance away as my original target. I decided to trust the man.

Approximately 10 minutes later, there I was, standing at a Metro stop that was completely unlisted by Google Maps Mobile. It just goes to show you that mobile technology, great as it is, is far from perfect.

Thank you, Mr. Doorman, for saving me some precious minutes on my way to O'Hare. Now, about that weather-related delay at Newark airport... .

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Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing
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Salvatore Salamone, Managing Editor, Network Computing