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Google Ride Finder Announced

CowboyNeal posted about 9 years ago | from the cabbie-stalking dept.

Google 349

nthitz writes "Need a ride? Now Google has included the ability to lookup where taxis are in real time! The new service is called Google Ride Finder. Using a combination of Google Maps and Google Local you can see where certain taxis are at the moment. Currently there are only 11 major cities that are supported, and there are still only a few cab companies that are involved. The service is pretty cool, but if they don't add more cities/companies, who knows how well it will do. For more info check out Google's Blog."

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one-handed fp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108254)

other one is full of cheetos

let the lame apr 1 jokes begin

Re:one-handed fp (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108272)

Dang. You are good, sir.

I applaud you.

*Polite golf clap*

Re:one-handed fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108288)

Confucius sayd...slashdot reader who eat cheetos, end up with yellow dick.

Would be nice for public transportation! (5, Interesting)

sjrstory (839289) | about 9 years ago | (#12108255)

Neat idea, but I'd like something that tracks public transportation vehicles. Accessible via a WAP browser, it would be a great thing to have while waiting at a bus stop at 3am wondering WHERE the frigg the bus is!

Re:Would be nice for public transportation! (4, Informative)

tjxn (236985) | about 9 years ago | (#12108318)

I can do something close in Portland, Oregon... Accessing the Tri-Met website (www.tri-mer.org/wap) on my cell phone tells me how long until the bus I'm waiting for reaches my stop...

Re:Would be nice for public transportation! (2, Insightful)

tonsofpcs (687961) | about 9 years ago | (#12108465)

Does this just follow the schedule and add a bit to appease you? or does this actually track the busses and calculate in real time based upon the driver's habbits, road conditions, speed, etc. how long it will take to get there?

Re:Would be nice for public transportation! (2, Informative)

dzarn (760066) | about 9 years ago | (#12108422)

Try nextbus.com [nextbus.com] . It has a lot of cities, WAP access, and is pretty accurate, at least in Boulder, CO. But it would be amazing with a real time map like this... it has one, but it's a java applet that has trouble zooming, etc.

April 1st!!! (-1, Redundant)

ThJ (641955) | about 9 years ago | (#12108258)

April 1st!!!

Re:April 1st!!! (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108295)

There are three types of people in the world.

1. People who don't get April Fools jokes
2. People who get April Fools jokes, and laugh at them but don't tell.
3. People who get April Fools jokes and shout out "OMG I BET THATS AN APRIL FOOLS JOKE". They're incapable of running with a joke, they insist on pointing out the joke, and are also the same people who tell you your shoes are untied, and when you look go "HA HA GOTYA". They also get beaten a lot at school.

Re:April 1st!!! (-1, Troll)

ThJ (641955) | about 9 years ago | (#12108371)

Notice how I get 3 mod points and you get 0? *laughs evilly... in a pleasant way*

(-1, Frigging Idiot) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108417)

I'm sure the other Anonymous Coward is as concerned about getting Moderations as I am. Were I less Anonymous, I would bet you good money you wind up modded down to 0 once some mods come through with enough clue to realize it is not informative to say "April 1st!!!!" in response to a story that is not actually an April Fools joke.

Re:April 1st!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108303)

1 Gigabyte of storage for email, free! No way!

Re:April 1st!!! (2, Interesting)

adamfranco (600246) | about 9 years ago | (#12108304)

April 1st!!!

Yeah, I hate this day on /.

I'm coming back tomorrow when all the bogus crap is over.

Re:April 1st!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108372)

Ahahah, you must be in communist Russia, because the joke's on you!

Re:April 1st!!! (4, Funny)

OverlordQ (264228) | about 9 years ago | (#12108377)

I'm coming back tomorrow when all the bogus crap is over.

Ahahah, you must be new here, you'll be waiting alot longer then a day. :)

Re:April 1st!!! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#12108306)

This is going to be the problem with every single story announced today , we are going to have about 40 APRIl FOOL posts.

I mean perhaps this is an aprils fool but i doubt google would let go of such a great idea , but the idea in itself is excelent so if it is an april fools joke then lets hope they do actualy do it .

Re:April 1st!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108317)

sorry about that i seem to be repeating myself ,I just got my morning coffe

Re:April 1st!!! (1)

rokzy (687636) | about 9 years ago | (#12108348)

excellent? why on Earth would anyone want this?

even if you happen to live in one of the covered areas and want to use one of the participating companies, what help would this map be?

where I live you don't need any of this "use the internet for the sake of it" crap. you phone the cab company and it asks you to press 1 if you want to go as soon as possible, otherwise hold for an operator to make a booking manually. when the cab get's close to your house the phone rings twice. the whole thing needs about 10 seconds of effort on your part so where's the room for improvement?

Re:April 1st!!! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#12108375)

;) if you flag a taxi its cheaper ,well atleast where i live .
and its always instant , walking around town with my PDA all i need to do is find a hotspot(ussualy someone unsheilded network but thats not my fault)and track a taxi and stumble over to intercept it (my wife refuses to pick me up if ive been out drinking)

Re:April 1st!!! (1)

rokzy (687636) | about 9 years ago | (#12108406)

where I live "private hire" taxis are far cheaper than flagged ones.

the idea of trying to chase a taxi with a PDA is ridiculous.

the amount of work Google would need to do to make this idea even remotely useful is staggering.

Re:April 1st!!! (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#12108426)

true , and it is not avaliable in europe , let alone my country , let along my area .., though my main problem is its 20 to 10 and i have just got my first coffe so this seemed like a far better idea before i had thought it through ;)

Re:April 1st!!! (2, Informative)

artifex2004 (766107) | about 9 years ago | (#12108323)

If it is a joke, it's a pretty good one. It knows that in Dallas, TX, Super Shuttle is a local service, and is in fact the only one it supports, right now.

Also, they've increased my mailbox size. Read this [google.com] .

oh, and about that extra space... (3, Informative)

artifex2004 (766107) | about 9 years ago | (#12108408)

You have to see how they're doing it. Earlier when I checked, I was up to 1100 something. I just checked again, and it's 1114. It looks like they're doing the reverse of nibbling away, by giving everyone 1 extra MB at a time, and then when they reach the end of the userlist, starting over.

I'm not making this up, if you have a gmail account, go see it. Mod me down if you look and it's a joke.

Oh, up to 1116... I'm never going to get to sleep tonight, I have to keep checking.

No April 1st (1)

presroi (657709) | about 9 years ago | (#12108338)

It was announced on March 31 in the google blog. Actually, this appears to be really real. And there is no aspect in this situation that is not compatible with reality. There is GPL, WLAN, Google Maps. Most cab companies do track their cars for various reasons so there is no problem sharing this information with google.

Re:April 1st!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108342)

...worst moderation ever.

Re:April 1st!!! (2, Informative)

SerialEx13 (605554) | about 9 years ago | (#12108366)

April 1st!!!

Of course nothing legit *cough* GMail *cough* was ever announced on April Fools Day.

Lame Mods (2, Funny)

2short (466733) | about 9 years ago | (#12108387)

Informative? Just telling people what day it is counts as informative? Seems like a pretty low standard.

Oh, wait, I see, it's informative because he's pointing out that it's an April Fools joke. But really, is saying "IT'S A JOKE!!!" really all that informative?

Particularly considering that a small amount of reflection will reveal that it is not particularly funny; and a small amount of research will reveal it is an actual functioning service. Which is to say, it is not, in actual fact, a joke.

Re:April 1st!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108452)

Uh, I thought the April's Fool Joke was the Google Gulp [google.com] ?

As far as I'm aware, this is actually real.

Not the joke... Google Gulp is! [Re:April 1st!!!] (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108466)

I believe the April Fool's joke is actually Google Gulp [google.com] . It's still in beta, and to get it, you need to trade in a used Gulp Cap at a local convenience store. However, it comes in 4 great flavours [google.com] !

04.01.05 (-1, Redundant)

WindowLicker916 (704800) | about 9 years ago | (#12108261)

First post and APRIL FOOLS


Re:04.01.05 (1)

WindowLicker916 (704800) | about 9 years ago | (#12108269)

Oh shucks....looks like i was .2secs behind the rest of the nerds...*sigh*

Re:04.01.05 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108286)

I'm not so sure.

The Google Blog says "Thursday, March 31, 2005".

Re:04.01.05 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108312)


Happy birthday to gmail.

More than a first Post (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108262)

1st April Fools Post!

Thundercats Hooooooo!

Over Extension (1)

zx2c4 (716139) | about 9 years ago | (#12108263)

I fear that maybe google is over extending itself. Google News is fine because it doesn't require external research, but the book service and now this... it seems like they'll have so much to maintain externally.

And thus... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108264)

...April Fools' Day 2k5... begins.

Yes but, can it find my keys? (5, Funny)

rhennigan (833589) | about 9 years ago | (#12108267)

Looks like they are getting closer and closer to being able to locate my keys in my house for me. Awesome.

Hey, this was my suggestion! (1)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | about 9 years ago | (#12108278)

While I can usually catch a ride from friends, sometimes it is difficult to do so when they aren't going the same way as me.

If you've ever read Jack Kerouac, you probably remember how he recounted the travels of his protagonists across the U.S. They relied mostly on buses, hitching, and occasionally the ride-share program. This type of thing benefits everyone, really. By encouraging people to ride-share rather than drive individually, the road is freed up from congestion quite a bit. Also, riding in a car is usually a more pleasant experience than riding on a dingy bus.

Less cars on the road, less air pollution from exhaust. Less wear and tear on the highways, less taxes to pay for them.

I'm glad to see they actually read my little email note about adding this kind of service. If it works out, I think this could be a real benefit to those of us of meager means.

No, wait. Lame (2, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | about 9 years ago | (#12108322)

This is a taxi-finding service, not a ride-share service.

If I wanted a cab, I think I could have just called the cab company dispatcher or flagged one down. I'm not sure how booting my computer, looking up the site then requesting a cab is any faster than the current way of hailing a cab.

Do they run too much? (4, Funny)

delymyth (17681) | about 9 years ago | (#12108279)

Sometimes I think Google is running too much and too fast.
Google Maps and Google Local (thus Google Ride Finder too) are available only for US citizens.
Services are fine, are good, are nice, and I'd like to see something similar for my area too (I live in Italy).
My not-so-secret dream is that one day they'll extend all those great services to the rest of the world, maybe before launching tons of other services I would only look at saying "it would be nice to be able to use it..."

Oh, well, I feel like I live in the third world :(

Re:Do they run too much? (1)

Coneasfast (690509) | about 9 years ago | (#12108333)

Google Maps and Google Local (thus Google Ride Finder too) are available only for US citizens.

actually, both are available at least in canada.
ride finder isn't (at least not yet), maybe this will change?

also, you must take into account that taxis are not highly used in some cities, and such a service just might not be worth it.

OTOH, would be cool to hook up to a WAP from your PDA/etc and find the closest taxi :)

Re:Do they run too much? (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#12108359)

I become more persuaded that this is a joke story the more i read it(great idea though) , but you are right with your point , living in Germany i know the feeling oh so well.
However in all fairness they are a company from the USA , i am aware of several european sites providing the same services such as maps and local info you just have to pick and mix .
I know its nice to have a centralised service and all, but putting all my eggs in one basket has never been a faviourit concept of mine(yes i do use unix in many forms)

Needs ActiveX (-1, Redundant)

barrier_reefer (731702) | about 9 years ago | (#12108280)

Doesn't work with my browser settings. I don't plan to change them either.

Re:Needs ActiveX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108298)

Hmm.. so you're telling me my Debian box has ActiveX?

Works fine here

Re:Needs ActiveX (1)

kerrle (810808) | about 9 years ago | (#12108388)

Funny, it's working just fine on Firefox in Gentoo...not sure how I could possibly even have Active X barring some weird WINE stuff.

Re:Needs ActiveX (1)

barrier_reefer (731702) | about 9 years ago | (#12108397)

OK, I should have said "it requires scripting of ActiveX controls if you are using IE". Actually, my preferred browser is links. Works really well with pine :-)

Re:Needs ActiveX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108419)

it uses javascript extensively

Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond Stor (5, Interesting)

snotclot (836055) | about 9 years ago | (#12108282)

Did anyone else see the GMAIL login page become this: well i'm not good enough to download the page, there's a funny handdrawn picture, but here's the text: Welcome to Gmail A Google approach to math. On the eve of Gmail's one-year birthday, our engineers were toiling away furiously. Notes scribbled all over the walls. Complex calculations on napkins and empty pizza boxes. Millions of M&Ms. The result?... starting today, we're beginning the roll-out of our new and top secret Infinity+1 storage plan. The key features are: Write, don't worry. You want to stop caring about storage. We want to keep giving you more. Today, and beyond. The gift that keeps on giving. 1102.353769 megabytes of storage (and counting) for every user. No complicated equations. No tough algorithms. Just this one graph: Gmail turns 1 today. And we've always loved a good joke. We know we won't reach infinity, but check out what we will do ... Gmail Sign In Username: Password: Don't ask for my password for 2 weeks. Forgot your password? Learn more about Gmail. Check out our new features! A few words about Gmail and privacy.

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (2, Funny)

HyperChicken (794660) | about 9 years ago | (#12108315)

Quick! Try and use above 1GB of storage! If you can't, we can sue them for false advertisement!!! We might have to go to France to do it, though.

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (1)

snotclot (836055) | about 9 years ago | (#12108339)

haha! Yes, put this on slashdot frontpage: "Everyone, on April's first, go above 1 GB!!!" Let's slashdot Google and Gmail!

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (1)

Alias777 (841435) | about 9 years ago | (#12108332)

You are currently using 50 MB (5%) of your 1107 MB. The counter on the login page just keeps on going. And it actually works! Hello infinite porn!

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (1)

Alias777 (841435) | about 9 years ago | (#12108345)

G is for growth Storage is an important part of email, but that doesn't mean you should have to worry about it. To celebrate our one-year birthday, we're giving everyone one more gigabyte. But why stop the party there? Our plan is to continue growing your storage beyond 2GBs by giving you more space as we are able. We know that email will only become more important in people's lives, and we want Gmail to keep up with our users and their needs. From Gmail, you can expect more. ------------------- Is this a joke or real?

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (1)

Kelerain (577551) | about 9 years ago | (#12108480)

Well looking breifly at the javscript in the page, its set to run all of april 1st (like the origional Gmail announcement!) and end with the text 'Over 2000 MB' on the home page, and presumeably all the users are going to get that as well, as thier box sizes are rising as we speak. The infinity plus one bit may be a gag, but thier marketing is genious! So in my opinon, they are, infact doubleing the size of thier service on the one year aniversary. Awsome.

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (1)

snotclot (836055) | about 9 years ago | (#12108360)

Well, you are limited to 10 Meg attachments. Dunno what kinda pr0n you watch, but I suspect most people will need more than a measly 10 meg attachment to satifsy their new Gpr0nMail.

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108374)

He likes the HOT GAY COCK [suso.org] porn.

Re:Google Gmail April Fools: Infinity and Beyond S (2, Informative)

Puchku (615680) | about 9 years ago | (#12108384)

Yup mine's up to 1114 MB. yay for google!

Re:Google Gmail Infinity and Beyond Storage (1)

npfscayle (671641) | about 9 years ago | (#12108460)

It seems as though the size limit is going up around 1MB a minute or so...
Mines at 1122MB now
You are currently using 59 MB (5%) of your 1122 MB.

You know it's April Fools Day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108292)

when Google announces a new ( and real ) product.

Nice for Portable Devices? (2, Insightful)

helioquake (841463) | about 9 years ago | (#12108294)

I guess this is wicked cool if you have a cool cell phone or PDA. I can definitely see the benefit in signing up for this service by a cab company.

Divided by a Common Language (1)

ajs318 (655362) | about 9 years ago | (#12108320)

I would expect a service called "Ride Finder" would get many visits from lonely Britons .....

Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108325)

Now we need a site to locate depressed persian tow truck drivers, and we're all set.


Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108380)

You think your life is bad? I am so hairy that my wife won't even cook breakfast for me anymore! Only thing keeps me happy is a cigar and this gold necklace, you see?


kevinmf (628527) | about 9 years ago | (#12108331)

Gmail is increasing the storage space for every gmail user. Log in and check your quota. Mine's been going up for a couple hours now.

Also, they have added the ability to format your emails now, too.
A good addition to their service on their 1 year birthday


Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108362)

Check the Gmail login page.

How about Google Spouse Locator??? (1)

Eminence (225397) | about 9 years ago | (#12108336)

That would have been neat. :) Get to know where and with whom your spouse is right now.

This is not an April Fool's Joke. (1)

eaglebtc (303754) | about 9 years ago | (#12108346)

I zoomed in on some taxis in the Baltimore, MD area, then waited a few minutes. After clicking the "Update Vehicle Locations" button, the cars magically moved!

This looks to be quite promising.

Re:This is not an April Fool's Joke. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108482)

Nope, it's not.

The Google joke is the Google Gulp [google.com] .

Quite funny, but they do get mixed up between neurotransmitters (which are chemical) and electrical activity of neurons at one point :)

if this is a joke (1)

ashpool7 (18172) | about 9 years ago | (#12108369)

it's an elaborate one. The cars MOVE along the roads.

Re:if this is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108393)

But that's not hard to do automagically once you know where the road is. Lil' math is all it takes.

Re:if this is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#12108409)

given the complexity of the gmail joke, I would say this qualifies as "complex"

But seriously, is it useful? (1)

GreyedOut (771495) | about 9 years ago | (#12108370)

April fools aside, I'm not sure how this would be useful.

They seem to only show available cabs, but which cab you get is up to the dispatcher, making the information available to you potentially useless.

In other news.. GMail [gmail.com] now offers 2gig storage at least + more space daily as you reach the limit as well as rich text editing. Plus the amusing page up now.

Sponsors (1)

SKPhoton (683703) | about 9 years ago | (#12108389)

Whether this is real or not, the Taxi Companies Google lists are going to be very happy sitting there as part of one of Google's new services.

It looks like they'll be having a Merry April Fools Day.

Privacy Concerns, anyone? (0)

v3rgEz (125380) | about 9 years ago | (#12108391)

At least you used to have to yell, "Follow that Cab." Now just know when and where they get on and you can follow them from home in your underwear, as they say ... Err, that came out pretty creepy.

Still NO Distance Scale on Google Maps... (4, Interesting)

Ron Bennett (14590) | about 9 years ago | (#12108411)

I've contacted Google numerous times about the problem of no distance scale on Google Maps and yet still no distance scale; I mention this here since the Taxi finder feature is using Google Maps.

Map makers, the ones that actually collected the data for the maps Google, etc uses, know how important scale is for both creating an accurate map *and* as well as for the user of the map ... without a distance scale on the map, the user is left wondering how far two points are - distance is important in determing whether one has enough gas, money, time, etc to get to the intended destinaton.

In short, Google Maps is nice, but without a distance scale, it's of limited usefulness.

If anyone from Google is reading this, please chime in regarding this matter - thanks in advance.

Ron Bennett

Google Gulp Anyone? (5, Funny)

porp (24384) | about 9 years ago | (#12108429)

Screw the Taxi tracker. I'm looking forward to a Google Gulp, found here [google.com] . My favorite bit:

From forest to freezer: A Google Gulp history

It is estimated that nearly half of Planet Earth's plant and animal species live in tropical rain forests, the vast majority of them undiscovered by humans and therefore not yet subjected to commercial exploitation. For Google, this cornucopia of undigitized data represented an irresistible acquisition target. So, for the past two years, as his 20% project, VP of operations Urs Hoelzle has spent one day a week collecting flora samples in several Bolivian sub-equatorial rain forests. For the most part, the compounds he returned with were nothing special - the usual grab-bag of future steroids, muscle relaxants, skin care appliqués and long-shot cancer drugs.

I bet Google Gulps are good with vodka. Shit, anything is good with vodka.


Sweet Idea - Practical? (2, Insightful)

sjbe (173966) | about 9 years ago | (#12108430)

While only a few cab companies are participating and it's in select cities (mine is one fortunately) this looks to be a pretty neat little service. I don't know that it will be hugely valuable without more information and cab companies participating. A few ideas for how to use it come to mind.
  • Obviously it could be useful to figure out which cab company to call based on who's closest for rides to the airport or for picking someone up. Also tells where particular cab companies tend to operate.
  • Could be a way to track the location of someone if you know they are in a cab from a particular company. Voluntary of course but potentially useful.
  • Simple way to know what cab companies operate in the area and who might be reputable.

Beyond that I'm not sure yet. If it gets integrated with traffic/weather reports or works on mobile devices it would be more useful. It's definitely a pretty cool hack no matter what.

Not April Fools Joke! (1)

CybrGuyRSB (410357) | about 9 years ago | (#12108433)

I'm pretty sure this isn't an April Fools joke, considering the service seems to actually work and it was announced on March 31 in the blog.
This is just Google showing once again how they're really smart. Seems that they've been coming out with more new cool stuff at a faster rate than ever before.

underground ? (2, Funny)

fizze (610734) | about 9 years ago | (#12108438)

am I the only one that thought about the freelance mode in NFS:U2 ?

In related news:
google also announced a new service, called "google date finder", to ease chances for _challenged_ people (read: geeks). In conjunction with google maps, google local, google ride finder and datefinder.com, the service is expected to be a huge breakthu success....
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