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A Love Letter to Google Maps

So, I somehow ended up in Oklahoma for the semester. Yeehaw. I’ve never visited before, and it’s been quite a culture shock, this whole “living out west” thing. However, I’m learning my way around — all thanks to Google Maps. 

Driving cross country from the Midwest to the Southwest? Google Maps. 

Lost getting from my Airbnb to the grocery store? Google Maps. 

Attempting to figure out where to go for dinner? Google Maps. 

Trying to make it to morning practice in the dark? Google Maps. 

Google Maps, the ever-reliable navigation app, has directed me literally everywhere these past couple of weeks. I adore it wholeheartedly. I can promise you, I would’ve ended up halfway through Texas before realizing something was amiss if not for this miraculous app. 

So why do I love Google Maps so much? 

For one thing, its darkness control settings enable safe driving to early morning practices (literally an hour and a half before the sun rises).

The way the app selects the route with the least amount of traffic is great. Additionally, the alerts notifying me if it is redirecting my route minimize confusion, and help me learn the roads. I love the color coding for traffic levels as well. The yellow and red indicate when cars will be backed up, so I can react appropriately and let people know if I’ll be late. 

Its mute function is also amazing; it allows me to bop out to my playlists without missing a word. However, I do need to watch the instructions carefully, so I don’t miss a turn. 

The gentle corrections and new routes it provides when I inevitably make a wrong turn or miss my exit are always quick and forgiving; they rarely add more than five minutes onto my drive. As a result, I’m a much less stressed driver and find myself enjoying the road more. 

Lastly, its ability to let me plan out routes ahead of time and save frequent addresses to personalized lists makes my day flow much smoother. I’m able to plan out my drive the night before, and check the predicted traffic on that drive at the next morning’s practice time. It also speeds up my morning routine, since I can simply open the app’s list and select my saved address. 

[bf_image id="q4s6il-gd0h4-evfjkp"] My one suggestion for Google Maps is to add a Safe Mode. Especially for young women, like myself, who may be driving or walking at night. Most of us would be willing to drive a slightly longer route through a safer neighborhood in order to feel more secure. I’m not exactly sure how the programming for this function would work, but then again, I don’t know how the programming for the predicted traffic or time estimates work either! Google, please hop on it! 

Clearly, Google Maps, with all of its amazing functions, has saved me more times than I can count since moving to a new city. I’m forever grateful to this app, and I’ll be using it nonstop again once I arrive at campus (hopefully in January!).

Katie Ryan

Columbia Barnard '24

Katie is an incoming first year at Columbia College. She's a coxswain for the men's heavyweight crew team and spends her free time working out, volunteering, and reading. Katie is planning to double major in English & Comparative Literature and Human Rights, specializing in Economics.
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