In fact, reliance on GPS can result in worse navigational abilities as well as reducing the size of the hippocampi (Leshed, Velden, Rieger, Kot, & Sengers, 2008). I wanted to point out the feature on Google maps in which the app labels places that you have previously routed to. Basically, the aim for us is to have a map of a city in our head. Google is assisting us in achieving that by very closely mimicking our brain’s mapping of a city.
How Google is paralleling a brain map:
- The only places that we will remember or care about will be the ones that Google labels.
- Because of the various experiences we have at these labeled locations, it will be more strongly embedded into our memory.
- When Google makes labels, we understand the map faster because of the relativity of the old location to a new location. In the example below, I know that The Falafel House Downtown is just north of the Firefly Coffee House.
In this way, we are learning a city faster and more efficiently.
Implications: Perhaps, in the past 7 years, and increasingly in the past 3 years, when many users need a GPS to get everywhere, the mapping of a city in our head is a slower process. However, with this feature, the process will become faster.
Update: “In fact, reliance on GPS can result in worse navigational abilities as well as reducing the size of the hippocampi” (Leshed, Velden, Rieger, Kot, & Sengers, 2008).