Google Maps introduces next generation of travel modes for modern user

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

Photo by Analyn Cuarto

‘Stumbling’ and ‘unicycling’ among the new options for Google Maps travelers on-the-go

By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager


Google is changing the game once again. Earlier this week, the search engine giant announced they would be adding a multitude of travel modes to Google Maps, including “stumbling,” “gallivanting,” and perhaps most importantly “crawling on your arms and knees like an army person.”

“We’re thrilled to be introducing so many new options for our users,” said Google’s Director of Public Relations, Paula Smith, during a press conference last week. “People who use Google Maps are a dynamic, ever-changing population, and we hope to reflect that with our new settings.”

Prior to the update, Google Maps only featured four travel modes: Driving, transit, cycling, and walking. An additional 11 modes have been added, with another 20 slated for release over the next year.

Among the initial wave of modes are “unicycling,” “walking but after eating, like, a lot of a pasta,” and “segwaying,” which Smith says users have been requesting for years.

According to an insider source, the travel mode updates spent years in “development hell.” Reportedly, thousands upon thousands of hours of testing and trial runs were conducted in order to perfect the necessary algorithms.

“‘Nervously driving with your mom in the passenger seat’ was one of the more difficult modes to chart, because there are varying degrees of manic behaviours among moms,” explained a developer who wished to remain anonymous. “It took two years of rigorous beta testing, but we finally found a mean-average for that manic-mom behavior, and how it impacts someone driving with them.”

Similarly, the “stumbling” mode also reportedly took an exhaustive time to develop. Researchers kept running into issues and variables such as “Did the user break the seal, are rushing home to use the bathroom?” “Is the user contemplating a detour to hit up McDonald’s on the way home?” or “Did the user then stop to vomit up the McDonald’s, and if so, how many times? Just a one-and-done puke, or did it come up in multiple, continuous waves?” These are the important variables researchers had to consider during development.

So far, public response to the updates has been positive, with particular praise going towards the “skipping” and “walking briskly, after having just gotten laid” modes.

However, the company hasn’t been able to avoid criticism altogether. Still missing from the travel modes lineup is “riding a horse backward while singing a pitch-perfect rendition of ‘Yankee Doodle,’” which users have been petitioning on for years.

Google Maps was swift to release a statement, claiming that particular missing travel mode is expected to be included in the updates later this year.


The Other Press

The Other Press, Douglas College's student newspaper since 1976. Articles, insight and updates from the New West and Coquitlam campuses.

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