Testing Driving Directions

CNet’s Elinor Mills ran an experiment: test the accuracy of the four major web map services — Google Maps, MapQuest, MSN and Yahoo! Maps — by following their directions between two points, one after the other, and timing how long it took. In the end, despite the fact that they all start with the same digital map data, they all gave different routes (MSN’s required that she drive over a street divider), and though each route took roughly the same amount of time (between 40 and 50 minutes, round trip), they were all nearly double the estimate given by the directions. As a control, she checked it against a cab ride, which was comparable. Interesting to see the services’ results compared.