My phone was *already* smarter than my satnav

Google’s blog announces local recommendations and takes my smartphone one step further beyond my satnav.

Now, my satnav is in theory a smarter bear. It networks with other users to give realtime, high definition traffic updates. Trouble is it’s only networking with other users of the same service – and that means there isn’t critical mass. Sure, it works well on motorways – but it’s struggling with the trunk roads that I prefer to travel on. There just aren’t enough users to give even a 425-line picture of local traffic. Last year I saw an A road closed for 6 hours: nope, nada, niente on my SatNav’s HD service – it reckoned the road was open all the time.

So what’s the alternative? Why, my trusty smartphone. I ran a back to back test on a 4.5 hour trip to Liverpool. The result?
SatNav wins out on managing motorway traffic – spotting it & routing you around it. On A roads, the smartphone wins out. It’s so much faster at recalculating routes, and in a different league when it comes to finding local information. & since my smartphone is an HTC/Google Nexus 1, adding local preferences to my information could be a great help/

The usefulness of results is going to depend on how smart the social engine is – when I’m in a part of the country that only my preferences’ friends’ friends’ visit, for example. That’ll be interesting. Last FM have managed that trick with my eclectic music tastes for years, so it’s certainly possible.

Critical mass shouldn’t be a problem (a final bye-bye to my satnav, then).

Blurring the boundaries of privacy could be the greater issue though.

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