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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Google Bike Directions Fail: Quickest Route from Palo Alto to San Francisco Is 150 Turns?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:30 PM

click to enlarge Bicycling to Palo Alto may not be easy via Google directions
  • Bicycling to Palo Alto may not be easy via Google directions
We noted back in March, when Google's much-anticipated bicycle-directions function first launched, that the program had some glitches. (Among them was its apparent ignorance, in certain cases, of the famous San Francisco hill-avoiding bike route known as The Wiggle.)

Well, an astute observer and avid bicyclist here at SF Weekly's office today pointed out another curiosity in the search behemoth's biking function. If you ask Google bike directions for the best route between Palo Alto and San Francisco (presumably a popular trip), it spits out a bizarre serpentine path chocked with approximately 150 turns -- and many straight stretches fewer than 500 feet long.

In other words, if you want to travel up or down the peninsula via Google bike directions, be prepared to carry a long set of instructions with you, much like a pirate looking for his or her buried treasure on an obscure Caribbean island. Unless you have no problem memorizing five pages of highly repetitive text.

Or you could just hop on Caltrain.

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Peter Jamison

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