Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Yahoo Driving Directions in India

You can go to Yahoo Driving Directions website to get driving directions between two cities in India. It seems a tad slow, it's definetely not perfect (works well between two cities only), but it's a great start.

Note that directions include landscapes (turn left past Bharat Petrolium, turn right past Andhra bank etc.), which are unavoidable because we don't have names for all streets, do we?

Now, Yahoo India has launched driving directions, with the added bonus of “auto fares” for that route! Sounds cool. But the reality…

But, here are couple of issues to be resolved:

  • The “auto fare” is far from reality. For the above route that I looked up, the “auto fare” displayed is Rs. 45!!! That was probably the fare several years ago!!
  • The results also show the time it’s supposed to take for that route. And, going by the results here, it’s supposed to take me 25 minutes to get there.

The “auto fares” feature is a really good idea. But, it’s got to be implemented with a reality-check. You can’t release this feature without having tested it thoroughly with real-life data.

For those unfamiliar with Chennai’s infamous auto drivers, they don’t use the meter at all…it’s just a “flat rate”, depending on their mood or state of mind at that moment! So, as & when the Yahoo “auto fares” feature is updated with more realistic auto fares, this could probably be used by those in Chennai to figure out what’s the bargaining benchmark, especially for those who’re new to the city!

With regards to the “Time” mentioned for each route, this is quite redundant, unless integrated with a real-time traffic monitoring system like MapUnity’s BTIS application. Maybe it’s on the cards…who knows, but until then it’s quite a pointless, even misleading feature.