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I’ve used Google Maps a lot over the years. But recent updates may prevent me using them as much.

Screen Shot 2014-11-29 at 18.25.59When this mapping service introduced street view, perhaps a thousand years ago, it was really exciting. We were planning our trip of a lifetime across America and to see Seattle, San Fransisco and Apalachicola at ground level was phenomenal. It took a while for us to see bits of the UK but whilst we waited, holidats in France were also planned. Well done Google with street view, perhaps you could do Germany some time soon?

However, my main use of Google maps has been to detail walks I’ve made (originally on Saturdays – hence Saturday Walks) with my friend (and over a thousand years ago – best man) John Rousell and sometimes others – Example. Some of these walks (most of these walks) avoid roads and a good while is spent walking across country. With the ability to ‘draw a line’ across the map, it was easy to record the walk and to assess the distance walked.  However, the update, whilst purporting to ‘Add walking route’ seems to assume that the ‘walk’ will be along the roadside and refuses to cross country and follow MY (the user!)’s route.

I really don’t have a problem with progress – it might seem that I have, because many ‘new’ ‘updates’ are put forward as that – progress. But they are often just ‘new’ and not often so progressive. Developers often forget the user and concentrate on the advertisers. I’m sure (please tell me I’m wrong Mr. Google) that the better, shinier, superb updates to the mapping service are just to make it easier for advertisers to place links to their businesses on the map.

Go on tell me I’m wrong – then put the ability to ‘walk’ across the map back like it used to be.

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Some of you may have started watching Billy Connolly’s trip down Route 66 (ITV 9.00pm Thursdays).

I have, and unlike some reviewers – The Metro – I’m loving it. I also enjoyed Stephen Fry’s trip around the 50 States of America a couple of years ago, yet felt that this programme warranted one week per state as it seemed so hurried. Both presenters are able to bring out the best (and worst) in American life without demeaning the subject.

Connolly is taking a little more time and undertaking the odd trip off piste, so we are seeing (and learning) much more about America’s real beating heart. However, he is still not taking quite enough time for me. I’ve ‘done’ a little of Route 66 and found quite a few quaint icons, food stuffs and food places and this week he skipped every one of those I’ve seen!

As he entered Oklahoma, it was as if Miami (pronounced Miamah!), the 90′ concrete totem pole at Foyil, the Blue Whale at Catoosa (although there was an image in passing), the massive city of Tulsa, the various bits of original 9′.00″ wide roadway and POP’s iconic soda sculpture just outside Oklahoma City didn’t exist.

Well, those are the bits I’ve ‘done’ – from the Kentucky border to the outskirts of Oklahoma City. So, in case you’re interested – here are my recollections of the journey.

http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/route-66/

http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2010/08/03/route-66-a-little-more/

http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2010/08/12/oklahoma/

http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2010/08/20/chicken-fried/

http://dsugdenholidays.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/jake-and-elwood/

Perhaps Stephen Fry and Billy Connolly should combine their talents and deliver a 50 week review of the USA? See the Indian reservations, spend more time with the Amish, explore the hurricane and tornado belts, discover and discuss what’s best and what’s worst about America.

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