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Google Maps to Correct Walking Directions’ ETAs to Account For Insufferable Locust Walk Small Talk


Photo by The Daily Pennsylvanian

“Let’s grab lunch!” you exclaim to an acquaintance — with mutually understood faux-excitement — as you close out an awful 3 minute slog of “How are your classes?” “Where are you living this year?” and “You were in PennQuest, right?”

You’re running late for class now. This was the third excruciating interaction you’ve had since leaving your dorm room. The walk to Huntsman was only supposed to be 10 minutes: how has it already been 20? 

This week, Google Maps released a long anticipated patch to their walking directions algorithm specifically for the University of Pennsylvania. Now, when navigating through campus, areas acutely susceptible to small talk will reflect delays, just as traffic conditions might for car transportation; high-activity periods of the day will see the most dramatic impact on ETAs. Users will have the ability to choose alternate routes that allow them to avoid SABSing in peace and optimize travel time.

A Google spokesperson explains their motivation: “With every awkward hello to one’s NSO hook-up and sup-nod turned to sprawling conversation, Penn students — especially freshmen — are severely underestimating their travel time to classes and other events. Our team has set out to fix that.”

More advanced features from Google rumored for the near future include the ability to upload your ex’s class schedule into the app for Google’s AI to predict where they might be walking — and to direct you away.

Penn students met the news with optimism. “I fucking hate having to pretend to care about my roommate’s freshman year best friend’s wellbeing whenever I see them on Locust. I was pleased when Google Maps took me down a manhole and through a well-hidden maintenance tunnel. I got to class in half the time, and got some cardio,” said Lynn Murphy (W ’25), who piloted the new functionality yesterday. 

The software will go live this weekend in time for the fifth week of classes. iPhone and Android users can find the free update in their respective app stores.