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Trainspotter

Google's slick ad campaign derails as riders left lost by faulty directions

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Google goofed.

 

Google Maps launched a big new subway ad campaign this weekend - but they apparently forgot to ask a New Yorker how to get around underground first.

 

As part of a new aggressive ad push by the cash-strapped MTA, the California-based Internet giant "wrapped" three cars of the Times Square Shuttle with colorful vinyl hawking Google as the way to find your way.

 

The problem is inside the train.

 

Ads on the wall show riders familiar Google directions saying that to get to Madison Square Garden from Grand Central, you take the 1, 2 and 3 downtown to 33rd St. and walk a block.

 

The directions completely miss the bit about having to take the shuttle from Grand Central to Times Square first.

 

Likely someone assumed riders must already know that, as they would already be on the shuttle when they saw the ad.

 

Still, New Yorkers were unimpressed.

 

"That's basic New York City information. The red lines run on the West [side]," sniffed Jesaidi Torres, 27, of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

 

"It goes through so many hands before they put it up and they still make it complicated. It amazes me," says Jennifer Gillet, 38, who lives on the West Side.

 

And out-of-towners found themselves more-than-usually befuddled.

 

"Thank God I asked for directions first," said Sara Grovenan, a 19-year-old visitor from Maryland.

 

Grovenan was told by a booth operator to take the shuttle crosstown to Times Square to catch the 1.

 

"Isn't it supposed to be 'When in doubt, Google it?' I guess not anymore," she said.

 

BY KARINA VIGO

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November 17th 2008

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People should stop relying on internet sources for directions. I can't begin to tell you how many times things like the Google, Mapquest, the Trip Planner, and Hopstop have given me contrived directions. Just look at a map, or better yet, ask the person who's going to be where you're going for directions.

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I don't use enough of the subway or HBLR to memorize the map, and i use google earth to find proper directions.

 

I do however have some basic automatic knowledge of the subway which helps when you are running to catch trains, don't wanna get on the wrong one! :D

 

- A

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Missed the (1)(2)(3)? Blame google.com for it, no mention of the (S) 42nd Street Shuttle, and the (7), unless it suggests that people walk from Grand Central to Times Square for the (1)(2)(3). Walking isn't such a bad idea after all.

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Missed the (1)(2)(3)? Blame google.com for it, no mention of the (S) 42nd Street Shuttle, and the (7), unless it suggests that people walk from Grand Central to Times Square for the (1)(2)(3). Walking isn't such a bad idea after all.

 

Please ppl would be on the 34th Street and still ask where Penn Station is and most of the time they in the vicinity or ppl still get lost or confused in the subways, either they got on the wrong train or have no sense of direction....so they can't blame Google.com for that

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The real problem was in the map inside the car, which should a direct line from Grand Central to the 7th Avenue 34th Street Station, a diagonal line inplace of the to straight line segments from Grand Central to Times Sq. and from Times Sq south to 34th st.

 

Anyone riding the shuttle would see that map and conclude that he was on the wrong train. Chaos rules!

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The subway is very complex, and is multi-dimensional. Can't expect to have it be perfect the first time.

 

- A

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"That's basic New York City information. The red lines run on the West [side]," sniffed Jesaidi Torres, 27, of Flatbush, Brooklyn.

This isn't frigging Boston. Now THAT'S some basic NYC information.

 

Also, I always knew the Google-(MTA) directions were flawed. I live in Jackson Heights in Western Queens, and hwen I typed in my address to see how to get to my school, Google couldn't find my address and told me the nearest similar address was on 23rd St. in the east side of Manhattan. Maybe it was the dash in Queens addresses...

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either they got on the wrong train or have no sense of direction....so they can't blame Google.com for that

LMAO

Sounds like this girl who was in my class last year. To get to our school you take the (6) to 96th St., so she normally takes the cheese bus from her house. She doesn't normally have a problem taking the (6) to the (E) since the automated announcements are there. One day she had to take the subway to an event at the school during summer vacation, so she got on the (E) at Union Turnpike and wanted to transfer to the (6) at 51st Street. Once her train entered Manhattan, she waited for the stops to go by until 51 came, but by 14th St. she realized something was wrong. She ended up taking an uptown train with her accompanying friend to 50th St., but realized there was no transfer there either. She then asked someone after half an hour how to get to the (6), and she got off at Lexington. She ended up being one and a half hours late to a three hour event. :rolleyes::P:D:P:D

 

Moral of the Story - It's not the (MTA)'s fault you fail at geography

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Please ppl would be on the 34th Street and still ask where Penn Station is and most of the time they in the vicinity or ppl still get lost or confused in the subways, either they got on the wrong train or have no sense of direction....so they can't blame Google.com for that

 

Well I see you have a point there, I do notice that sometimes, that people are right there at their destination and don't realize that, so I agree.

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I wonder if the ad idea was designed in their California offices... can't expect anyone there to know the system by heart like us New Yorkers.

 

The Google Maps subway & bus tool is cool, but far from perfect. I live on Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn, and it tells me to walk the mile and a half to the (2)<5> station. Ummm... the B82 and B41 are very close. Sometimes it'll tell me to take the bus to a far off train stop, like (3)(4) Utica Avenue & Eastern Pkwy!?

 

The Google technology is good though, and will be tweaked over time.

 

One thing I haven't been able to get the maps working on is my iPod Touch. I thought it was designed to work on them?

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