Google's Lethal Beta Walking Directions

Google’s love of the beta tag for it’s software has been a thorn in some people’s sides, and has caused concern for businesses looking for rock solid, reliable solutions, but has the beta tag gone too far this time?

Google Walking Directions, a beta feature of Google Maps is being blamed for causing a traffic accident after providing questionable directions that prompted the woman to walk down a road without sidewalks.

The Walking Directions site contains a warning that the software is in beta, but since the woman accessed the site using a Blackberry the warning was not visible.

Armed with only a Blackberry and her common sense, Lauren Rosenberg chose to blindly follow the route suggested by Google, a rural four lane highway.

Granted, in a world where coffee cups must legally inform customers that coffee is indeed hot this seems like a Google screw up. What a sad, sad state of affairs.

Hopefully two lessons can be learned from this: Common sense is an attribute that should never, ever be assumed or taken for granted, and Google and other software makers shouldn’t abuse the beta tag!

Source: CNN Fortune Tech

Written by Toby Leftly

Toby is a Mac nerd, a hardware nerd and a web nerd, rolled into one. You can find him at or on Twitter.

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May 30th, 2010 at 12:12 pm

“Armed with only a Blackberry and her common sense”
I have huge doubt about the latter.

May 30th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

This is what happens when you let a product think for you. Darwinian selection.

May 30th, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Sorry, Toby, but you’re wrong. Google is very strongly labelled with warnings that location instructions are suggestions only and should be verified with an up-to-date map, first.

May 31st, 2010 at 1:06 am

Anyone know any other routes that are available, so I can make a huge claim as well?
Only problem is I would have to leave my brain at home…


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