Did Google Maps Make Us Lose Our Minds?

The public can relax now. The Google Maps app is here, so we can all rest assured that we’ll know exactly where here is once again.

But that whole Apple maps debacle was scary, wasn’t it? Though we appreciate that Apple CEO Timothy Cook acknowledged the mistake and owned it, he left the public asking one collective, exasperated question: Where are we?

The public outcry over Apple’s failed attempt to replace the functional and beloved Google Maps revealed something very telling about people today: we’re no longer as resourceful as we once were. Though technology is designed to make our lives easier, it also has a way of disconnecting us from the real world.

When, exactly, did the public forget how to get from point A to point B? The Google Maps app, of course, is a godsend for those stubborn men who refuse to ask for directions, but when we no longer need the kindness and patience of a stranger to point us in the right direction (or the brainpower to establish our own bearings), we’re losing something as a society.

The iPhone’s ability to always let us know where we are has caused us to lose a sense of who we are.

Our parents raised us better–they drove us across the country using worn, stained gas station road maps as frail as spider webs. Our mothers and fathers fought with relied on each other, not Siri, to determine which exit ramp to take. They bought magazines just so they could lean over the counter and ask the cashier how to get to I-95. And we can’t even memorize where our neighborhood library is.

For shame.

The public, for better or for worse, is losing the ability to pay attention. We crash our cars while trying to text. We rudely bump into fellow pedestrians while searching for the right song. And, yes, instead of trying to think through problems—such as, where, again, is that lovely Italian restaurant?—we immediately consult that brain in our hands instead of that brain in our heads.

How many of our readers have relied on their digital devices to tell them how to get to places they already knew how to get to? Well, you’re not alone. We’ve done the same thing.

Have we all lost our minds? Ask Siri–she’ll know.

Publish date: December 15, 2012 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/did-google-maps-make-us-lose-our-minds/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT