Google Walking Directions

Google Maps is beta testing a new “walking directions” feature, Alex Chitu reports.  Apparently, it’s just being tested  out on a small number of randomly selected users.

Since I wasn’t among those selected, I was a bit dubious since I was unable to personally verify, let alone test, said service.  A quick search of another of Google’s products, its ubiquitous search service, revealed that  Caroline McCarthy couldn’t, either.  Doug Caverly, though, posts a screenshot.   The Inquisitr claims to have talked to people at Google and was told that “A random portion of users may see [the] walking directions experiment in Google Maps.”

For those living in the suburbs, the concept of “walking directions” is amusing.  If it’s close enough to walk to, you probably know how to get there.  Now that I’m working in DC, however, I’ve actually had several occasions where I needed to go somewhere in town where driving and parking would have been either frivolous or more trouble than it was worth, using Metro was slower than walking, and where the “Google Driving Directions” were certainly sending me along a circuitous route.  The prevalence of one-way streets and traffic circles adds substantial distance to a car trip that becomes a noticeable inconvenience when walking the same route.

via Techmeme

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Leviathan says:

    It seems like if it were walking distance, you could just look at the map on the Driving Directions and see the best way to go…

  2. Jeffrey W. Baker says:

    The problem with the driving direction is they often don’t account for roads which are OK for cars but are impassible to pedestrians. For example, an overpass over a freeway without a sidewalk.

    Recently I was in Portland and I set off walking from downtown to the southeast side, and it would have been useful for me to have known in advance that a particular bridge over the Willamette was not open to pedestrians. I had to hail a cab to cross that bridge!

  3. ptfe says:

    I wonder if this means they’re going to include things like cut-throughs (parks, parking lots, etc) and trails. Even the bare inclusion of trails would improve bike directions — generally constrained somewhere between walking and driving. It’s a good idea if they really are doing this.