Woman gets knocked down and sues Google

A woman is suing Google because she was knocked down while following directions given by Google Maps.

Lauren Rosenberg, of Park City, Utah, has filed a case against the search giant in the US District Court’s Central Division, as well as against the driver, Patrick Harwood, who actually hit her. Harwood and Google are being lumped together in the same case as co-conspirators, and Rosenberg wants at least $100,000 for blindly leaping where Google bade her go.

The accident happened on January 19, 2009 when Rosenberg used Google Maps on her Blackberry smartphone to get directions for walking from 96 Daly Street to 1710 Prospector Avenue, both in Park City. The problem is that part of the route, in particular Deer Valley Drive, lacks a footpath, making it dangerous for pedestrians.

So, clearly it’s Google’s fault for providing that route. The way we see it, Google could have a) provided a longer route that made sure of footpaths, if such a thing exists, b) not given any route at all in case it might kill people, or c) built some footpaths for the venerable Rosenberg.

The prosecution said that “as a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google’s careless, reckless, and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Laren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle.”

However, Google Maps does provide a warning at the top of its directions, which reads:

“Walking directions are in beta.
Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.”

Let’s face it, though. Rosenberg is an adult. If there was no footpath to walk on, she should have had the common sense not to walk in the middle of the road. Even if Google Maps provides inaccurate directions that may lead to a more dangerous route, it’s up the person themselves to actually walk it. If someone was to ask a passerby how to get from A to B and then got knocked down following those directions, would that helpful person be prosecuted? Google didn’t exactly lead her into quicksand.

Google’s working on some cool technology, but it seems ‘eyes’ aren’t quite outdated just yet.

Google Maps used to advise people who wanted to get from America to the UK to “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean”. It should be thanking its lucky stars Rosenberg didn’t ready herself at the British coast with a set of armbands.