Labels on Google Maps

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: 

  1. The only places that we will remember or care about will be the ones that Google labels.
  2. Because of the various experiences we have at these labeled locations, it will be more strongly embedded into our memory.
  3. 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. 

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 1.58.21 PM.png

 

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).

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