Google SMS directions require someone sitting shotgun

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When I first heard about Google Mobile, and Google SMS, I was really excited.  Text for yellow page listings.  Text for directions.  You ask, and you shall receive.  But it doesn’t really work when I need it.

One day I was looking for the phone number for a restaurant I know has been open for over a year.  ‘Wichcraft.  I sent a text to Google Mobile.  And waited.  It said we have no such listing.  Thought I spelled it wrong.  Nope.  Had the city right too s it wasn’t user error.  After a few botched attempts, I made it to the restaurant.  Walking for about 1 mile.  But if I search Google from my computer, the address pops up fine.  Huh?

But the worst is really the directions.  (No I don’t have a GPS and I don’t have GPS enabled on my phone via the Sprint monthly service.  I need directions 2-4X per month.  Not worth it to me.)  Here’s a screenshot.  On a Palm phone.  (This like mine!)

In this image it is the 1 of 2 texts.  What they forget to tell you is that your texts will arrive in any order.  Typically it takes 4-5 texts for my directions to work.  Nothing’s more annoying than getting these texts in this order: 5,2,4,1, 3.  So let’s pretend you want directions to where you are driving.  And texting behind the wheel is illegal in CA.  How are you supposed to follow the directions?  Have someone in the shotgun seat.  Because clearly it isn’t safe to navigate 5 out of order text messages on your phone.  No matter how nice the SMS UI is.

Google can you please improves these services, so they work better when you are mobile.  Thanks.  I’d like to stay hands-free and paper-free.

Note to product development teams.  Don’t forget to take into account how, when and  where your product will be used.

— Jame Ervin

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