Sydney To LA? Google Maps Suggests Travelling Via Japan

Apple's iOS 6 Maps app has been the subject of some well-deserved criticism, but any mapping platform will come up with odd suggestions if you throw enough queries at it. Google Maps, for instance, will offer you driving directions to Sydney to Los Angeles — via Japan.

Inspired by Google Operating System noting that Google Maps now routes directions from the US to Europe via the Pacific Ocean, I decided to check what it would offer for a US-Australia pairing. The system is intelligent enough to know that you'll need to sail across the Pacific Ocean to do that, but for some reason opts for going first to Hawaii and then to Japan rather than straight between the two continents. It also helpfully notes "this route has tolls".

The same directions are offered for pedestrians and cyclists. If you actually want to find ways of moving between countries that don't necessarily involve a plane, rome2rio is a good place to start.


    Because its the closest land to land destination which may be a preferable route

    Yes checked again with few other perimeters. It's actually really smart it's using currents and trade winds for sailing as the route..

      I wish my work's Corporate travel desk was this good. They had me once going Sydney to San Fran via Bangkok and Seoul.
      And Sydney to Manila via Hong Kong, Dalian, Beijing, Tokyo and then Manila.
      Or, you know. Fly direct.

    Hello and welcome to 2009, maybe even older?

    author seems to have either missed the fact that this is an easter egg and not a serious suggestion of a route, or they are a blindly loyal apple fan trying to cut down google maps.

    this easter egg is at least 5 years old, telling you to swim across vast oceans and bodies of water. its clearly a joke and not in any way meant to suggest legitimate driving suggestions intentional because it tells you to swim, not drive or seek an alternative transport method, across the water.

    it now appears the easter egg has been updated to say sail, instead of swim.

    in any event, this is not a justifiable reason to produce an article claiming google maps gives "odd directions" and make a comparison with apple maps.

    apple maps is directions fail, google maps is humour win. move along.

      +1 nice comment, I agree the author is just another apple fan boy trying to find some pathetic reason to bash the evil competitor . Life hacker where do you find these people.

        I very rarely get accused of being an Apple fan boy :)

      OMG how dare he write something about something you already knew, what a jerk.

        apologies that the 5 brief paragraphs i wrote was too much for you to digest, but the last 2 clearly stated my problem was that he as comparing an easter egg, deliberately included by the developers for humour, with the unintended mapping failures found within apple maps.

        the first paragraph of the article quite blatantly attempts to justify the apple maps failures by suggesting any mapping platform, including googles, will fail if you find the right query. its not a failure when the developer puts it there deliberately as a joke when you ask for driving directions that are impossible.

    Years back Its used to say "kayak across the pacific ocean",or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&fp=5fd7e08ceab46a51&bpcl=35243188&biw=1440&bih=7711 but looks like the funny guy left the building..sigh!

      Doh!, you beat me to it.

    Does anyone know what IOS 6 will do given the same origin and destination?

      (Route you past every Apple store along the way? :P)

    What's this "Sail across the Pacific Ocean", What ever happened to "Paddle by canoe".
    Admittedly, its difficult to put a car on a canoe, but it says the same for walking!

    Try getting walking directions from Rivendell to Mordor. Also, "Garbage in, Garbage out". Asking for driving directions to a location over a body of water is fundamentally stupid in the first place.

      done it 15.7 miles and takes 5 hours and 31 minutes, although i would imagine it wouldnt be that smooth sailing so might want to allow 6 hours

    How is it an Easter egg, in ios google maps you can type in any direction you want and it will give you directions, across oceans etc. always have been able to

      ... You really want us to explain to you why jetskiing across the Pacific Ocean might be a joke and not a serious suggestion?

      Not really. Six months ago this route would simply time out (or wait forever) in Google Navigation for Android, which isn't terribly user friendly. Now it suggests you kayak from Japan to Hawaii, and onward to the US mainland.

      Presumably one's kayak is meant to hold a car, since it suggests driving across Japan.

        Ever heard of rental cars?

    Up next, author finds out Google Maps recognise the existent of Mordor and The Shire, complains Google doesn't know these are fictional locations.

    Really disappointed, wanted to drive from Sydney to London but can't...

    101. Jet ski across the Pacific Ocean

    When I came back from a trip to the UK I went via Japan. Loved it. this is sound advice if returning from the US, whatever your mode of transport.

    At least 8 years old, probably more.

    I've been working bringing Google Maps back to iOS6. It's called Egg Maps. It's been submitted to the app store, but hasn't yet been approved. It's very fast, and does directions, transit and tracking. It uses google maps for directions. So you can go to LA via Japan using your iPhone, if you want. Check out:

    PS: @Tam , Egg Maps says it takes 1 minute (regardless of the mode of transport) for a route with the same origin and destination. It does this because it uses Google Maps for routing, and that is what Google Maps provides. I thought of explicitly checking for this case, but if you're putting in the same origin and destination then you probably want to see a result.

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