The Second Annual Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To Awards, 2018 Edition

Building on the unprecedented success of last year’s awards (well, they were the first) I wanted to come up with the 2018 version. It shouldn’t be difficult as, according to the new “digital wellbeing” app, I use my phone over 5 hours a day, so I must be doing something on it. So here goes, … Continue reading The Second Annual Mostly Random What It All Boils Down To Awards, 2018 Edition

Google Maps is creepy. It’s time to think differently about user data collection and use

We’re in a period of heightened user privacy concerns, amidst users' growing understanding of the breadth and depth of the personal data collected about them. One would think, as a product manager, that this might be a time for being more respectful of user privacy and to be less blatant about how much sensitive data … Continue reading Google Maps is creepy. It’s time to think differently about user data collection and use

Context changes everything: maps, cupcakes and how to meet user expectations

I was offline for a few days so I didn’t hear about the Google Maps cupcake feature until yesterday, when Google pulled it. The feature essentially showed users how many calories they could burn by walking to their destination and they measured that walk by cupcakes. Users responded by saying it felt judgemental to provide calories … Continue reading Context changes everything: maps, cupcakes and how to meet user expectations

App feature I love: ‘Go Later’ in Waze

Every once in awhile I encounter a feature in an app or service that is so smart I have to, well, write a blog post about it. Today I’m loving Waze’s “Go later” button, an option at the bottom of the destination action sheet that opens a screen that I think is extremely well designed … Continue reading App feature I love: ‘Go Later’ in Waze

Citymapper integrated bike-sharing and it looks great

Going on vacation is my way to see what Citymapper has been up to. It’s pretty much the only app that continues to surprise me every time I update with some new, useful feature. Last time it was the journey companion (hitting Go on a chosen route provides cards throughout the trip and reminders when … Continue reading Citymapper integrated bike-sharing and it looks great

Tech, climate change, big data, and making a difference

A while ago I wrote about the challenges of writing a tech blog about apps and gadgets when world-altering events are going on. This came into focus this week after the president’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord and the ensuing conversation. Then, surprisingly, commitment to support the Accord poured in from cities, states, universities and … Continue reading Tech, climate change, big data, and making a difference

Toll Roads – adding another dimension to Google Maps

Yes, I’m going to talk about Google Maps again. I know, I’ve been writing a lot about travel apps, but they are one of the most popular mobile apps category and a road trip in new places always surfaces new needs. Our road trip took place in the approximately 250 mile distance between New York … Continue reading Toll Roads – adding another dimension to Google Maps

Maps: a little feature that makes a big difference

Google Maps has launched a new, smallish feature has been on my list of feature requests for a long time. It consists of giving users more options than a yellow star when saving a place. I love this feature because, as you will see on the right, I save a lot of places. The problem … Continue reading Maps: a little feature that makes a big difference

Google Maps and new metadata: when are customized results too much?

Every time I go on a roadtrip I am surprised by new Google Maps features and this recent winter trip was no exception. Maps surprised me with several new features, three that I thought were intriguing. Out of those, two were helpful and timely. The third, well, I’m not sold. A warning that the destination … Continue reading Google Maps and new metadata: when are customized results too much?

The new Google Maps traffic notifications: are beautifully implemented but practically useless

Some time last week Google asked me for permission to send me traffic notifications. Magnanimously, I agreed, and now, from what I can tell, Google sends me alerts about traffic where I am a few times in the morning and a few times in the afternoon. I get notifications when traffic is bad for the … Continue reading The new Google Maps traffic notifications: are beautifully implemented but practically useless