Friday, September 30, 2005

If You Can't Trust Yahoo

I’m here in St Paul on the first night of my trip to Minnesota and Ontario, and the drive this afternoon took an hour longer than expected because Yahoo Driving Directions clearly has no idea where the Holiday Inn St Paul North is located.

I’m serious. A week ago, I typed in the address and told Yahoo exactly where I wanted to go. Yahoo returned driving directions in less than two seconds, which is exactly the kind of confidence I want to see in a giver of directions.

But Yahoo was clearly stumped by my request, and instead of admitting it, they just decided to throw out some random directions in hopes that I wouldn’t notice the glaring absence of a big green Holiday Inn sign in the residential neighborhood they sent me to.

I called the hotel and said I had no idea how to find them. The woman at the desk said “Did you get your directions from Yahoo?” and when I confirmed it said “Yeah, we get that a lot.”

The crazy part is that this Holiday Inn is located right in the middle of a busy street, County Road E, and it’s surrounded by restaurants, banks, and other sundry establishments. It’s not like it exists in an alternate universe that Yahoo doesn’t have GPS access to.

The directions, if you’re ever heading this way, are simple: 35W North to 694 East to Lexington Avenue to County Road E—and there’s the hotel on your right.

You could ask Yahoo, but they’ll just pretend to know.

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