Kudos on data mining done right

I'm headed to New York City next week and the wife wants stuff we don't get here in the boondocks.  So, decided to see if there was a Trader Joe's near where I'll be staying.  That's when I discovered that Google Maps now gives you public transit directions. 

My directions were to: walk 7 minutes west to Wall St. station, take subway line no. 5, get off at Union square and walk 2 minutes east on 14th St. to the store.  The page even listed train timings, and sported an announcement of when that line is going to experience interruptions.  Now, none of this is data that I could not have gotten on my own, but the sheer convenience of this is amazing.  I probably would not visited the NYC transit page to find train timings or interruption information -- I would have just shown up and cooled my heels.
It's not about the data; it's about how accessible and usable the data are.   Count on Google to get data mining right -- they pulled together a variety of sources into something concise and comprehensive.   The resulting directions and display are so simple that the underlying algorithms must be sophisticated indeed.

No comments:

Post a Comment