Saturday, December 26, 2009

dolorous googling

Yesterday I joined my friends Krishnan and Sandhya in taking their nephew Balaji (and their daughter Subhadra) on a tour of some of San Francisco’s famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Point (where we saw a couple of dolphins), the Presidio, Japantown (Peace Plaza), University of San Francisco, and, of course Lombard Street (or the crooked street as K. called it). Our first stop, after they picked me up in front of GGU, was supposed to be Mission Dolores (or more properly Mission San Francisco de Asís). I remembered roughly where it was down in the aptly-named Mission district, but I decided to google it to be on the safe side. The weird thing is, Google maps places the Mission Dolores a little over a block away from its true location at 16th and Dolores streets on a small back-alleyish street called Dearborn (link). I was moderately suspicious and surprised but I figured the almighty URL aggregators knew what-for, and I was in a hurry to get to BART on time to meet my friends.



Blogger rchrd said...

Egad, it's MORE than a block away! It's 1 and 1/2 blocks west and more than a block north from the location Google shows. And Google's Mission Delores is seems to be in someone's back yard!

A lot of times these errors are due to the GPS settings that Google uses to locate places of interest. A wrong digit in the least significant places can move the point yards off.

I've been led astray many times by the false data in Google. It's always best to check, before getting lost.

December 26, 2009 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger zmjezhd said...

Yes, and it's not just incorrect location coordinates, but also the metadata used for driving instructions. Once when going to a friend's party in San Francisco, Google had me turning left onto a street on a divided street where there were no left turns allowed. But, at least Google Maps is better than Google Books. The metadata there is worse than useless. V. had an intern once who got a job at Google as a "clicker", those are the people who respond to bug reports and other complaints and try to correct the misinformation.

December 27, 2009 at 6:21 AM  

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