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Another element clicks into place
Remember my recent speculations about what I want in my GPS? Well, they're getting closer -- in going to Google Maps right now, I see that, alongside the current traffic view, I can also ask it to show me the *expected* traffic and travel time for my route at a given time, and it makes its best guess based on historical information.

I'm amused, mostly because I wasn't expecting that feature for a couple of months yet. I wonder how long it'll be before they factor it into the route planning in the GPS...

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I'd noticed it occasionally giving me different routes based on *current* traffic. But I likely haven't used it yet for any long-enough trips for it to be (obviously) routing based on *predictions* of the traffic...

it's been that way for at least a half year now...

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i have only noticed traffic at various times nto current on gmaps themselves online in the past thalf year... before i thought it was only current traffic

The GPS on your Droid, [info]jducoeur not only shows you the "average time", but the time it takes right now due to traffic.

Oh, I know that -- indeed, it's the number-one reason why I switched to using that instead of my Garmin. Having a more-accurate idea of my ETA has a real effect on how I travel. (I loved the Garmin, but its guesses about travel time were only a little bit better than a dartboard.)

What I hadn't observed, that I'm referring to above, is the idea of Google using *predictions* of the upcoming traffic to calculate my ETA -- not what the traffic is right now, but what it'll probably be like by the time I get to the point of the expected traffic. (Of course, it might have always been there, and I simply haven't used the Droid for any trips long enough for the effect to be visible.) That's a key element of the "it's time for you to leave" feature of Google Calendar that I outlined a few weeks ago...

Really? Huh -- I hadn't noticed it before. (Although I suppose the link to reveal the feature is a bit subtle, so I may have just overlooked it...)

For what it's worth, GPS is going to probably be the go/no go criterion for whether I get an Apple Tablet when it comes out.

Interesting. It's honestly not a form-factor that I associate with GPS. I want a tablet to be biggish (vaguely Kindle-sized), which means it's not pocket-sized, which means I probably won't have it *always* in my pocket. The thing I'm loving about the Droid-as-GPS is the fact that I can count on having it with me...

I don't expect to have it with me all the time either. But the screen size will make a map a lot more useful for when I do want it.

Are you thinking about this for in-car use, or other times? Another issue I see is the dashboard-mount question. One reason I think GPSes are hitting a size wall is that the current 5ish-inch screens are getting to be about as big as you want to put onto your dash without it actually blocking visibility. So something as large as a tablet seems tricky to use while driving, although I can see the value of the larger screen at other times.

My gut reaction would be surprise if the iSlate (or whatever it's called) ships as a GPS navigation system out of the box -- it doesn't seem like the sweet spot for most people, and I doubt it'll be a major selling point. But I suppose that, if it is using a variant of the iPhone's software (which seems plausible), then adding the GPS circuitry would be worth the cost. And at that point, having the software available is easy enough that they might well do so...

Hmm. I hate using the GPS in voice mode when I'm in the car by myself. HATE. I don't even know where the dashboard mount is. But I love it as an aide for my navigatrix - who would greatly appreciate the improved usability of a larger screen. That would certainly be a selling point for me.

Okay, I can understand that, especially if you're frequently driving together. The majority of our need-navigation driving is separately, so we've both gotten used to the voice-mode GPSes. (Which I don't *hate*, but they certainly need a lot of evolution before they stop being a bit annoying...)

I finally decided that I need to have both a phone and a separate GPS: I talk while driving, and I don't think you can use the phone for both at the same time...

You can with the Droid (I've done so once), but the interaction is still a bit weak -- when the GPS needs to give directions, it cuts into the call while doing so. In general, the Droid's hands-free phone capabilities still need some work: it's usable, but I can think of several features that would make it better and/or safer...

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