Typically when I use a map app to get around, I prefer to type in the addresses, rather than relying on the location feature to pinpoint where I am. (Read more about why I do that here and here.) Since the location feature is disabled, this also means I need to rely on reading the map to get around instead of taking advantage of the audio feature.
However, there are a few distinct scenarios when having the location feature engaged and the instructions dictated are a life saver.
Scenario #1: When I’m navigating for my partner. I can’t even count how many times having Google maps read out the instructions has prevented an argument or dispute about which way to go. When Google maps is wrong, it’s easy to blame the app, which diffuses a lot of tension, especially when driving in an unfamiliar place.
Scenario #2: When I’m driving by myself. Even though I look at the map and directions before I go somewhere, it’s very useful to have the directions dictated to me when I’m driving solo. This means I can focus completely on the road and has prevented me from getting lost a number of times.
Scenario #3: Useful feature for people who can’t read maps. Admittedly, people who can’t read maps, or figure out how to use the map apps, are a big peeve of mine. I get frustrated when people with smartphones, especially taxi drivers, can’t figure out how to get around with the map apps. I blogged about this before in a post titled “When Smartphones Make Us Dumb.”
For these non-map reading people, the audio directions are a wonderful thing. Google maps will tell someone exactly where to go. All the person has to do is turn on location, pay attention to street signs and glance at the moving blue dot on the map to make sure s/he is going in the right direction.
On the flip side, sometimes Google maps gives too many instructions which can be distracting. For example, when driving on a highway that sometimes intersects with other routes. Google maps will repeat several times to stay in one lane or the other to continue on the same path.
The other annoying thing is when the radio is playing and Google maps interrupts with a direction. Sadly, the radio will not automatically pause so both things play at the same time.