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I drove into Austin with my good buddy, Google Maps, which was not hacked by the Russians

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I took some time off to visit Austin recently, and took along my best driving buddy, Google Maps.

I used to really hate driving in this city, which has to have some of the craziest drivers in the country. Now I “really” don’t hate driving in Austin anymore. I just hate it. The “really” part is gone.

I didn’t come here to sit in traffic all day, so I let Google Maps do its magic. Whatever that friendly voice says, I shall follow. “Don’t second-guess the Google lady,” I told my wife. “She knows what she is doing.”

But, I was beginning to have doubts about her when she ordered me to abandon Highway 35 (the devil’s highway) and turn off to some country roads. It looked like we were heading into Boonieland rather than toward the nice RV spot I was renting.

“Did you enter the right destination,” asked my wife.

Yes, I did. I am very careful about that. Plus, after a few touches of the virtual keyboard, Google usually guesses the destination, corrects the spelling, and starts to tell me where to turn and when.

It is really hard to mess up. The Google lady is thorough. She tells me multiple times to turn, and there is no way that at least one of those times I would not listen. It really is idiot-proof.

But we were supposed to be getting closer to the city, and were still winding on a narrow country road lined with cardboard shacks (they weren’t really cardboard). There is no way we could be anywhere near the park. Miss Google Maps has lost her mind, we were thinking, or was hacked by the Russians.

The day before, Google took us around town to get to our destination, where we would embark on canoeing peacefully on Town Lake while watching the rush hour traffic. That was almost surreal.

The problem was getting to the lake at the beginning of rush hour. The Google Lady had us take feeder roads and made us turn for whatever reason. Then she delivered us to the canoe rental place without much delay - maybe a few minutes here and there.

My wife was adamant that we were going the wrong way. She used to live in Austin. This could not be the way to the canoes, she said.

It was. We just went around a few major traffic jams first. Never doubt the Google lady, I kept reminding her.

But that was before the Russians hacked into Google Maps. Or, at least that was the best conspiracy theory I could come up with.

Why not? They hacked the Democratic National Committee’s email. That was more difficult than to hack Google Maps - just to get me lost.

“Keep going straight for two miles. Your destination will be on your left,” said the Google Lady.
What destination? I don’t remember seeing any of this. I thought that we were just circling around the “cardboard” shacks a few times.

And then, after driving up on a hill, there it was. Everything looked familiar. We arrived at the camping grounds without rush-hour delays.

Google Maps is the best invention since sliced bread. But sliced bread was really easy to invent. You just take a loaf of bread and slice it. Whoever invented Google Maps had to be a genius, and a guy who just hated stopping and asking for directions (like all guys).

Thank you Google Maps. How did I ever drive without you?