Examining Google’s Walking Directions

I've gotten a lot of email about Google's new walking directions Beta launch this week and now that the Metro craziness is over, I decided to give it a try and see how it worked.

I took a street corner near my home and asked for directions from their to the Third Street Farmer's Market.  To it's credit, Google recommended the same route that I often take and one that a car couldn't.  I tried out two other routes that I know and had similar results.  Going from the Bike Kitchen to the Red Line stop at Santa Monica and Vermont?  Google takes pedestrians up Heliotrope while auto drivers are taken up Edgemont.  Going from City Hall to Civic Center?  Walk west up Tom Bradley Dr., not West Temple Street.

While I give Google Walking a thumbs up, it comes with the usual caveat that it's not a replacement for local knowledge.  If you're using it for a new place, make sure to have a backup plan in case local conditions aren't reflected by the map.  After all, this is just a Beta launch.

The only negative is that Google is a tease.  Next to the link for walking directions is a link for transit directions.  Clicking on it brings this message.

 

Your search for transit directions from Heliotrope and Melrose, Los Angeles, CA to Santa Monica and Vermont, LA CA  appears to be outside our current coverage area. Please consult our list of  participating public transit agencies.

Anyone want to take bets on whether or not Google Metro comes out before Google Bikes?