Google Maps Draggable Directions

Last Thursday we launched a cool new feature on Google Maps called draggable directions , which allows you to interactively customize your route by clicking & dragging.  For example, you can use it to route around bad traffic by turning on the traffic layer and dragging the blue directions line to avoid the congested roads.  You can also drag & drop destination markers or right-click to add/remove destinations.  The really cool thing is that as you drag, the route/distance/time instantly updates.

This was probably one of the most useful features I’ve ever worked on.  The UI was pretty simple to design, but there was a lot of clever engineering that went into making the directions servers fast enough to support real-time re-planning. I got to work with some awesome engineers for this project.

The only uncool thing about the launch was that Marketing made me appear in a really embarrassing YouTube video.  After I saw the initial cut of the video, I begged them to edit me out, but they refused.  Then I hoped that no one would watch it, but apparently it’s been viewed 390,143 times according to YouTube’s stats. The video does a great job of highlighting the feature itself, but it’s incredibly corny.  I’m a terrible actress.  One of my co-workers actually called me after seeing the video to say “Congratulations on being the laughingstock of the company.” :P

I read through the YouTube comments, most of which are hilarious and inappropriate.  Some of my favorites —
– “thats really cool. But its easy to tell your software engineers not actors lol”
– “It’s like a 9th grade video project, lol”
– “haha wow these actor are terrible!!!! fire them!”
– “Hahaha, Google staff are so lame, yet so awesome. These guys make me laugh!”
– “I swear that dude is the biggest homo around.”
– “Great feature!!! Oh, and the geek in the red shirt is hawt.”
– “i’d bone her”
– “id make sexy time with jess. yummy.”

But anyways, hope you find the feature useful!


#1 theoderick on 07.05.07 at 9:21 am

nice. i liked it, jess. you should give yourself more credit!

#2 ZhangHan on 07.05.07 at 3:56 pm

Bahahaha! the comments are Hi-larious.

got a question for you Jess.

I run deliveries for my company. We use commercial vehicles to deliver our products to the tri-state area (new york, new jersey, connecticut), but we’re using outdated software to plan our routes. What i need is a map that is “trucker friendly”, essentially a way to plan out our routes taking into account the various roads and highways that a commercial truck can and cannot take, right down to the local level. Any plans for that?

#3 macpea10 on 07.06.07 at 5:35 am

congrats on your new launch!  :)

#4 tangirl on 07.06.07 at 3:13 pm

awww you look good in the video :) it’s not THAT bad…

#5 trickshot on 07.09.07 at 9:41 pm


who needs actors anyway.

#6 soulgrifter on 07.10.07 at 9:43 pm

personally, I think you did a great job.

I wouldn’t be surprised if google started asking you to make more clips.

the guy in red creeps me out a bit though.

#7 MutsuriOtaku on 07.11.07 at 4:47 pm

Whoa…good thing you got in when you did…

#8 dfafa on 07.11.07 at 7:47 pm

Cool features! I think you did a great job. =D

#9 Bryckcity on 07.19.07 at 4:42 pm

Why would they say that? I genuinely thought you were really good in the video. Just the perfect touch of detached irony that’s more endearing, disarming, and genuine than if a better “thespian” made it. I’ve watched a few of these google vids and this one was by far my favorite. I might be biased tho, ha!

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