Google maps you have a speech problem

Google Maps

I love google maps but it has a problem.

I use it as a GPS when travelling around on my scooter, which means I don’t have a screen in front of me. Instead I’m reliant on the audio output to tell me where to go and when. I imagine for most people this sounds kind of crazy because they want to see the map and directions, but when it works it really works well. It says before the turning and then again just at the point of the turn. Pretty much once you get use to it, its just great and I find it weird sitting in peoples cars when they are not listening to the voice.

However there is a bug/problem.

I use to think it was just my Nexus 5X but its happened with my Google Pixel2 making it clear its a google maps issue.

Every once in a while, google maps stops talking and leaves you with silence.  This seems to be solved with a restart, which is hardly great when driving along. I imagine most users tend to have the display and don’t care too much about the voice. But if you are reliant on it, when it suddenly goes quiet you start to wonder. Worst thing about it is Google maps doesn’t say anything when you don’t need to take a turn. Meaning if you are going down a motorway you have to assume everything is fine.

Google maps fail

This is what happened as I drove down the M6 towards London not Bristol on Monday afternoon, wondering when the M5 turn off was coming. Now to be fair I was on the right motorway but when I came across the M6 toll road, I took it and that led me towards London.

M6 toll
Taking the M6 Toll road
M5 from Birmingham
The M5 I should have took

Google maps said nothing, so I just kept going expecting something over the headset when the turning came. To make things even more difficult I had my pixel 2 phone locked in the scooter charging, meaning I couldn’t see the phone unless I pulled over and turned off the engine. Once again not ideal.

Ok this example is quite extreme (but it happened) and you could say I should have been aware but I honestly didn’t see a sign for the M5 south. Its likely I wouldn’t as I took the M6 toll road.

Google maps has a speech problem and I’m not the only one who has experienced this.

Anyone else?

The technological revolution spoken

I’m now on my way back from Japan (mainly Tokyo) about to land in Dubai  and its amazing to think about all the experiences I had with Japanese people.

There certainly is a  massive language barrier, there is no way of avoiding it. Now you can spend time learning Japanese which will take some serious amount of time (especially for somebody like me). Or you can rely on the services which come about using connected devices.

Google translate came to help me many times while in a sticky spot and I’m not the only one. While sitting in the maid cafe (as mentioned before) I got talking to TAHK0. He was telling me how he climbed a crazy mountain and when I asked him about his Japanese, he admitted he knows a couple of words and thats it. He then went on to talk about Google Translate.

We shared stories of use and of course I had a few of my own.

I had a serious problem with the Airbnb apartment I had for the 2nd week, which meant moving all my stuff to somewhere else. To do this, I needed to be a couple of taxi rides. Unfortunately the taxi driver didn’t speak any english whats-so ever.  I was trying to explain to him that I needed to go to a place, get him to wait for 5mins and then go somewhere else. To make things worst the place where the Airbnb shared room is, wasn’t near any landmark I knew of or could find on a map. I showed him on Google maps, but that didn’t really help. In the end I had to direct him from the back seat by typing and reading aloud from my tablet. Google translate worked just well enough for me to get the main point across.

2015-04-20 16.00.51

The point is, it worked!

When talking to the lady/girl during my unsuccessful attempt to get to Nagashima Spa-land the first time. We used Google translate to talk quite a bit. It wasn’t exactly free flowing but at points it wasn’t so bad and we laughed quite a bit at the slight errors Google would make. The crib sheets I printed never got used and wouldn’t have be anywhere as useful.

Even when I sat in a restaurant trying to understand a Japanese menu items with Google translate. The chef used Google translate to attempt to understand what I was actually asking for. It was one of those moments which was unbelievable. Likewise when going clubbing on Saturday night, the taxi driver pulled out his two sided Android phone got my translation and put the results into his Google maps navigation system. It was a thing of beauty, honestly…

Taxi drivers phone

I’m not saying Google translate means you shouldn’t learn the language and to be fair without 4G/LTE wireless the whole process would have been terrible. What I am saying however is, the world is so much more accessible due to the internet and services like Google and I understand this is the trade off I have to make.

The most famous speech in human history: Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream”

Martin Luther King Jr. - I Have A Dream Speech

Its been 50 years since Martin Luther King’s massively inspirational and moving speech. I was watching some of the programmes from the BBC about the speech and Martin Luther King himself. I didn’t really get a chance to blog about it but here’s some great stuff Umair Haque wrote on twitter and fb.

On the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, here are 10 points on his legacy and what it still means to us today:

  1. If MLK was alive today, wonks would tell him a revolution of love was impossible, politicians would ignore him, and pundits would mock him.
  2. MLK was a great leader. He wasn’t a wannabe. He wasn’t a cowering flunky. He didn’t sell his dream out. He was the real thing.
  3. So I can’t tell whether its funny or sad to hear glowing praise for MLK from people who surely would have hated him were he alive today.
  4. It’s amazing to me how America misremembers MLK. As a policy “activist”. Wrong. He wanted a revolution of love.
  5. MLK didn’t want slightly higher taxes, or one new law. He wanted something bigger: revolution in people’s hearts. A revolution of love.
  6. So to remember MLK as some kind of policy wonk or activist or lobbyist is laughable. He was more than that. He was a real leader.
  7. MLK was the kind of leader whose memory tells us: we don’t have much real leadership left today. Just wimps selling out.
  8. MLK is probably one of the last people in America who called for real institutional change. For that, he was spied on, jailed, and killed.
  9. MLK didn’t just want an end to segregation. He wanted an end to poverty, war, anger, and greed.
  10. What MLK’s memory should remind us of is: once we had revolutionaries. Now we have analysts. Because we killed our revolutionaries.

In honor of MLK, I’m going do 7 points on dreams. Enjoy!

  1. Each and every one must have a dream. That marry who we are with what we want the world to become.
  2. Your dream is your destination. Without one, you’ll always feel lost.
  3. There are better dreams, and worse dreams. Better dreams are bigger than just you, and your aspiration.
  4. Heartbreak doesn’t happen when your dreams don’t come true. It happens when they do.
  5. Don’t cripple your dreams. With evidence or logic or doubt. Dreams are a kind of magic.
  6. Dreams are always impossible. And so we must use a force stronger than our minds to ignite them. We must have faith in them.
  7. Never step on people’s dreams. They’ll rarely forgive you. Always lift people towards their dreams. They’ll love you for it.