The Google Maps of the future will be a very smart computer program that knows you very well, which sounds part useful, part annoying, and part creepy. "The dialogue with the map is becoming much more personal," Google's Michael Jones told The Atlantic's James Fallows in a Q&A in this month's magazine. "Personal" means it knows what we want—"It’ll be like you’re a local everywhere you go," added Jones—but at what expense? Jones says the Maps app of the future will make us smarter:
In the future, the phone will signal you—go left or straight ahead—in words or sounds in your ear, or visually through your glasses, so you can just look where you’re going and walk... You’ll know your way through the back alleys and hutongs of Beijing, you’ll know your way all around Paris even if you’ve never been before. Signs will seem to translate themselves for you.
That all sounds convenient and helpful, if not a bit irritating. ("Isn’t this just like the voice in the car GPS telling you, annoyingly, where to turn?" asks Fallows.) But, in practice, it also sounds a bit too-personalized.