Monday, 10 february 2020 | Redacción CEU
What is the first thing that we do when we have to go to a place that we have never visited before? We try to decide which route is the best and calculate how long it will take. Nowadays, only the nostalgic, obstinate and disconnected people would use a map as a first option in a case like this. Not surprisingly, technology based on geo-positioning has won over our society. Such is its development that it is not only influencing the emergence and consolidation of new business models, but it may even be changing our brain. Thus, what can we expect from this technology?
A few years ago, in a demonstration in Berlin, the German artist Simon Weckert realized that, due to the high concentration of people in the place, Google Maps had interpreted that there was a big traffic jam there. This fact encouraged him to design his project called "Google Maps Hack". His idea was to deceive the tech firm’s navigation system, by using only one wheelbarrow and 99 smartphones. The experiment worked.
Weckert wanted to draw attention to the trust we place in tech platforms and companies. With this simple trick, the artist managed to transform the reality: the drivers who used the application at that time chose an alternative route or were guided to a new one.
Weckert’s experiment seems not to have bothered Google. One of its spokespersons explained to Business Insider that this technology can already distinguish between motorcycles and cars in some countries, but is not able to identify wagons yet. The Google representative also claimed that the tech company appreciates seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this, as it helps them make maps work better over time.
From being lost to being geo-located
The arrival of global positioning systems known under the GPS acronym was a revolution for the world of mobility. This technology can be now found in cars, agricultural machinery, ships, airplanes, etc. However, if there is a formula that has been decisive in the boost of positioning technology, it is the proposal put forward by Google. An unequivocal proof of this is the fact that most smartphones in the market already have this application installed when customers buy them.
Does this mean that automotive navigation devices are condemned to disappear? At this time, as in most businesses, everything depends on the ability that the companies dedicated to their development have to adapt themselves to new consumer habits, to the new digital scenario, to the evolution of the business and to the progress of their competitors. It should not be forgotten that these devices continue to have some advantages over other navigation systems like Google Maps, for instance, when drivers travel abroad. They also show more precise indications or have batteries that last longer.