Now ain't that interesting? You can use Google Maps to get directions from one location to another. It is most of the time pretty accurate displaying information about highways, signs, exits and so on to give you a good impression of the route that lies ahead.
You can try it now and head over to the Google Maps website and use the Get Directions tab to enter a starting point and destination to see how the system works. As long as you are living on the same continent, everything should be fine.
Now guess what happens if you enter a starting point in Europe and a destination in North America? Let us see what happens: I start in Berlin and want the direction to Fort Knox.
Everything appears to be looking fine.Google Maps displays a suggested route that I can take and divides it up in 64 different parts that take me from Berlin to Fort Knox in the US. Nothing unusual so far but take a look at the image that details the route: it takes you directly through the Atlantic Ocean. One could assume that Google wants you to take a boat or maybe a plane to cross the ocean, but no, this is not the case.
Now if we analyze direction 40 on the list we see something very astonishing. It says "Swim Across the Atlantic Ocean" with a distance of 5572 kilometers, that is 3462 miles! Think this is a pretty strange suggestion: What do you do with your car btw, leave it behind?
Update: Please note that Google in the meantime has fixed the issue. When you now try to get directions from Europe to America or vice versa you only get the message that Google "cannot calculate directions" between the two locations.
You may sometimes get related directions though. The route from Mass to Tokyo for instance suggests to " sail across the Pacific Ocean" at one point, which is not really that of a precise direction to continue the journey.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.