Finding a gas station while driving

Finding a gas station while driving - student project

I love Google maps. I'm the kind of guy who will blame your Apple maps if we arrive 2 minutes after the original ETA, or if we get lost, or even if we get a flat... "Google would have told you about that nail if you just used their app".


I could go on and on... but I won't. Today I just want to share my #1 favorite feature on Google maps. 


Have you ever been driving in a car and that ominous *ding ding ding* pings your ears. You're out of gas. You're somewhere you've never been before and have no idea where to even start looking for a gas station. Or maybe you're just a cheapskate like me and you don't want to go to Chevron and pay $5.00 a gallon (@ bay area people).

Regardless, you're going to need to find a gas station that fits all your criteria. And you've got to do it fast and (most importantly) safely. 


Here's the screen you're looking at while you're driving:



So first thing you do whenever you're ~searching~ for something? Click the magnifying glass. That will open this screen:




Now immediately you've got a common gas icon (might be the same as on your car even) and you've got a label telling you exactly what that icon means. Click it!


Now in just 2 cliekcs, you've got this screen below:


On this screen, Google has given you a handful of their recommended options for gas along your route. Even better, it gives you the most common, critical information, such as the brand name, price, and how much time it's going to cost you (look at that, Chevron at $4.86...). Click the gas station you want and you're good to go. 


Since no product can ever be perfect, here are some improvements I would like to see in the future:

1. From this view, there's no way to see any additional information about the gas station. Let's say you're also hungry and want a snack, tired and need a coffee, have low tire pressure and need air, or you borrowed your parents car, didn't tell them you took it camping off road, and need an emergency car wash. There's no way to see if this particular gas station will be able to satisfy any of those secondary needs. 

2. See all those other red dots? Those are also gas stations. I understand that they can't pull up a detailed view of every gas station, but in this scenario, they had plenty of space to work with on the right side of the screen. There's one red dot right by the freeway a little further up that would be perfect (turns out it's only $4.40 and a "quick detour"... somehow it's a Chevron which boggles my mind). So maybe you can either tweak the algorithm to use more of the page, or at least show the #1 cheapest, #1 closest, #1 shortest detour options for those like me that love to be efficient. 


Anyone who's still reading, I would love to hear if you have any more ideas around the Google Maps app or this specific feature!