So the other night a friend and I were trying to suss out some directions using Google.  My aim was to get from my home, in Erskineville, in Sydney, to Orange, NSW.

So I typed in From: Erskineville. To: Orange.

It's just a hop, skip and a jump

Seems Google thought I meant directions to Orange, California.

It looks like I can do it, it’ll only take:

Are we there yet? Are we there yet?

The bit I love is how specific the directions are, and the following bit of instruction is as good as Google gets (see 57).

Yes, it really says Kayak

Yes, Kayak across the Pacific Ocean for 5,404 km!

Just keep on paddling

Once, I get through Japan, I’m off on my Kayak again across the pacific this time 6400km to the US.

How badly do you want to get there?

Really? That badly?

So, all of this was set assuming I was in a car, set it to walking directions:

Better get the snorkel out

Google, you are amazing.

Most commented


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    • Monica says:

      08:23am | 11/06/09

      This is brilliant.

    • Eric says:

      09:12am | 11/06/09

      I can see a new adventure sport coming. Someone will actually try to follow the instructions.

    • Irena says:

      09:47am | 11/06/09

      I’m gonna try searching for Sydney - Mount Everest directions on foot and see what comes out

    • Lexi says:

      10:08am | 11/06/09

      Haha that’s genius. They really do have an answer for everything! Or are they trying to push people from their desk jobs into something a little more adventurous?

    • Simon says:

      10:29am | 11/06/09

      Funnily enough, I did a similar search over the weekend and received correct instructions including turn by turn street view.

      My direction search took me from Stanmore two suburbs from away Erskineville to Mudgi a town a bit north of Orange in NSW.

      It predicted it would take me around 4 hours to drive and sure enough it did..

      So what does this tell us?

    • David says:

      10:48am | 11/06/09

      I used this service last weekend.  Riversdale Rd Camberwell to Bay Street Brighton.  Spot on couldn’t fault it all.  Number of klm’s also spot on.

    • Alun Machin says:

      10:57am | 11/06/09

      Nice one! There is definitely potential for a book or a TV series on this subject. ‘Chris Khalil’s Around the World Adventures using Google Maps’ perhaps?

    • Rohan says:

      11:52am | 11/06/09

      I saw something like this on Top Gear.  in a old episode a lady wrote in saying. I can’t remember where she was going to or from but the length wasn’t that big maybe a couple of house on a freeway.  But she didn’t want to go on the freeway and she said she didn’t want to go on the freeway.  The direction that came back where 100 pages long and the trip would go though 5 Countries.

    • Justin Polites says:

      12:13pm | 11/06/09

      Perhaps try using the AU version of the product:

      Your search (US based)

      AU based

      And yes Google is amazing!

    • JULIE HO says:

      04:10pm | 11/06/09

      the whole google empire is truely amazing. Whatever question you may have, google has the answer. Honestly without google, i’d be lost!

    • Doreen says:

      05:31pm | 11/06/09

      Brilliant.  I havent had such a GOOD laugh for ages!  Loved the bit about Kayak agross the Pacific Ocean!!  It really made my day , I agree with what Alan said previously it really would make a very good TV series . So keep looking Chris,  I look forward to reading about more of your discoveries Thanks

    • Tim says:

      08:17pm | 11/06/09

      Are you sure you didn’t type in Orange, USA ?

    • David says:

      02:18am | 12/06/09

      Didn’t have to - he just had to use instead of (see Justin’s post above)

    • Alex says:

      11:43am | 12/06/09

      And this is the reason why I’ll never visit USA (I live in Melbourne) :- I don’t have 55 days of annual leave for the trip.

    • Russell Yardley says:

      01:32pm | 12/06/09

      Very funny Chris.

    • Jeremy says:

      02:14pm | 12/06/09

      Funny, clever and very old news. Sorry, I read about this on average once a year for the last (feels like) five years.

    • lvleph says:

      05:11am | 14/07/09

      They use to have it so that you could swim the Atlantic. This was done to congratulate Benoît Lecomte or maybe it was Jennifer Figge. Benoît Lecomte actually swam the entire atlantic solo and Jennifer Figge swam sections of it in a shark cage.

    • Adam says:

      07:09am | 14/07/09

      A couple of years ago Google gave driving directions from some place on the east coast of the US (Maybe New York, I just don’t remember) to London. The directions got to a point where you had to swim across the Atlantic. Someone definitely has a sense of humor at Google.

    • Tom says:

      02:10pm | 14/07/09

      Haha that’s hilarious LOL.. I didn’t realise there was an Orange in the USA too, I wonder why it selected that over NSW lol

    • Sassmo says:

      07:03pm | 14/07/09

      There’s one small problem with these directions: You cannot launch a boat or kayak from Gas Works Park (I should know, I live 2 blocks away and my roommate owns a kayak).

    • Jan says:

      08:51am | 15/07/09

      I approve of their choice of watercraft.

    • TE says:

      10:37am | 15/07/09

      Google knows it’s hard to kayak for that long, why do you think it made you visit Hawaii on the way;)

    • O says:

      03:10pm | 15/07/09

      Ha ha ha

    • Mickey says:

      03:13pm | 15/07/09

      I remember when Google Maps first came out, directions from New York to London included a step to swim across the Atlantic.

    • Srivatsa says:

      12:01am | 16/07/09

      Oh man, this is amazing!!  When I searched for this route and the mode of transport was “by walking” - It gave me a 1000 step instruction along with

      “Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.”...

      Oh yes, Pacific Ocean does not have sidewalks!! wink

    • bob says:

      03:34am | 16/07/09

      ask a dumb question get a dumb answer

    • ghgdshg says:

      12:34am | 17/07/09

      its true i looked it up.

    • Lakshmi Mareddy says:

      02:54am | 17/07/09

      Ha ha .. I really liked this article.  Looks like some very bright team coded this software !  Here is why we still need commonsense as an ingredient in this kind of search setups!!

    • yes says:

      02:55am | 17/07/09

      although it’s very funny, it’s also very old

    • DSH says:

      09:04am | 17/07/09


    • Matthew Langwith says:

      10:45am | 20/07/09

      Yeah teh topgear one was a lady wanted to go from Edinborought o london without using the M25…..The macine told her tto go through france and Germany before arriving In London.

    • Jorge says:

      02:29am | 22/07/09

      It is not perfect but you can improve it going straight forward from Sydney to Hawai.

    • Maverick says:

      09:21am | 25/07/09

      I typed this up and google just put an “A” on Erskinville and then put up numbers on each and every place called “Orange” all over the planet. I kinda think a long kayak trip is what you get for not specifying your destination to an engine that has to look at every possible destination on the planet

    • Alex says:

      06:15am | 26/07/09

      I tried finding instructions from Wellington to Sydney, but it didn’t find anything.

      Funny, I thought we could kayak across the Tasman. :D

    • pat B says:

      10:40am | 28/07/09

      lmao, had to try it for myself

    • nuts28 says:

      12:37pm | 28/07/09

      I trusted Google Maps to get from Adelaide to Falls Creek once. I have no doubt it gave me the shortest route, but I would have just preferred to use commen sense and stay on the main track. When I was in the middle of Victoria on un-marked single lane dirt tracks, I realised the trusty fold out map would have been the better option. So yes, Google Maps is great, but probably only for short journeys because its ‘intelligence’ is only skin deep.

    • Eric says:

      12:28pm | 30/07/09

      I typed this in just to see it and decided to say I was walking. It will only take about 194 days and 14 hours. Guess I am putting in for some vacation at work.

    • Mr Subramanian says:

      01:33pm | 30/07/09

      With Google Earth adding the moon, I wonder if Google Maps will tell us how to get there? Over to Cape Canaveral and onto a space shuttle, no doubt… wink

    • Jono says:

      04:28pm | 08/08/09

      Easy swim don’t wine! Babies…

    • The Baldchemist says:

      10:32pm | 14/08/09

      Probably quicker than The Parramatta Road.

    • Bambi says:

      03:07pm | 17/09/09

      Guess my expectations were too high in asking north pole to south pole. However, it is good to know that Santa Claus can find about any state in the US.

    • Linda says:

      03:46am | 26/09/09

      when you do this trip I will be one of your supporters

    • malfunkshun says:

      08:11am | 03/10/09

      This won’t work if you try to go to say, England or Russia or France.  From the US, anyway.

    • Arizona says:

      07:54pm | 16/10/09

      is it difficult to put , Australia ?
      Maybe you could think sometimes yourself, or do you have the need for maschines to do it for you?

    • stac ey says:

      03:46am | 12/11/09

      Google is the shiz. F*** bing. <a >E Cigarette</a>

    • Sean P says:

      10:54pm | 02/12/09

      Not new, in fact i had first hand experience..somewhere in SFO for a client meeting place. Followed Google instructions, only to be stopped by a traffic police. He must have found me strange, as I was roaming around the same place for almost 1 hr. Thank God and him for not giving me a ticket. Later compared with yahoo..realised how bad Google was. Completely wrong directions.

    • EMILY says:

      11:50am | 03/12/09

      i stumbled upon ( this post and as a current resident of Orange County, CA i say cheers!

    • Sarah says:

      03:27pm | 04/12/09

      It still works!  I just tried it and found the “Kayak” instruction.

    • Lavi says:

      09:16pm | 13/01/10

      one time i directed it from jersey to france.. it said SWIM across the ocean.. i guess they’ve upgraded.

    • Sarah says:

      07:56am | 14/01/10

      The kayak thing is a deliberate a joke. I saw a presentation from a Google employee once, they showed it as an example of how they managed the limits of certain algorithms.

      It’s their “culture of fun,” geddit? Coz they are so wild and wacky and whatever.

    • PeteY says:

      11:14pm | 25/01/10

      What are you thinking??? Why the hell does somebody in Erskineville what to travel to bloody Orange NSW for anyway? They’ve got dogs there as well, there’s no escaping.

    • jeff says:

      10:55am | 24/11/10

      go from the bronx to london

    • Paul Web says:

      02:39pm | 17/08/11

      There are a few locations like this as well, e.g New York to Japan, or Hawaii to the US. Great to see a sense of humor from Google.


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