Directions from Google: “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean”

[UPDATE 01-JULY-2007: Looks like Google has disabled the swim across the Altantic easter egg. However, I was told by someone at Google it was an oversight and it will be put back in the next update.]
Amusing directions in Google EarthThis is very amusing! If you ask Google Earth or Google Maps for directions which require you to go across an ocean, then Google will give you those directions. For example, if you ask for directions from Boston, MA to London, UK (see step 9) it gives you driving directions to the coast and then will tell you to “Swim Across the Atlantic Ocean”. Here’s the same thing in Google Earth . Caution: following these directions may be hazardous to your health!
Note: this cross-ocean-direction thing only works with a limited number of cases for the places I tested. If you come up with other directions that work (especially other oceans), let me know by leaving a comment here. It does seem to work for other Atlantic journeys like “san diego, ca to berlin, germany” (at least with Google Maps, GE won’t find that path). Also, there appears to be a bug with the directions path in GE (the path isn’t set to stay above sea level – that would make sense if you tried to drive). This tip came from Philipp Lenssen of Google Blogoscoped.

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was released. He worked in 3D graphics for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank left in 2009 to circumnavigate the earth by sailboat as part of the Tahina Expedition.



Comments

  1. Globalwarming Awareness2007 says:

    The title suggests google wants everyone to ride bikes everywhere. I posit that that would be great.
    Globalwarming Awareness2007

  2. This blog is excellent!

  3. I see that New York to London recommends you swim to France first then take a ferry to England (described as “Slight right at Dover – Boulougne-sur-Mer”).
    Also it takes the trouble to stear your swimming around the various islands on the way. It works out the entire journey as “about 29days 10 hours” I wonder how much of that is the swim.

  4. I tried going the other way from my home to a mate in the US (Great Kingshill, UK, to Williamstown, MA) and again there was a diversion through northern France. Similar timing of 29 days 10 hours, though presumably this is against the current?

  5. Boston, MA to Rome, Italy works. And you have to swim all the way to Le Havre :)

  6. Stuart Goldman says:

    Looks like all entries into Europe are through one port in France. From there, it looks like you can drive throughout the continent (Lisbon, Rome, etc.). The directions even put you on a ferry to Dublin. Maps handles ferries (Seattle to Victoria, BC, and even Australia to Tasmania). I haven’t found a Pacific route similar to swimming the Atlantic yet.

  7. It seems to work to other areas of Europe as well. One interesting thing is that you can now find directions for Russia (even as far as Irkutsk in Siberia)despite Russia lacking the road layer

  8. For the person who wondered how much of the 29 days 10 hours was the swim… Trans Altantic swims are always New York to the single port in France (can’t remember the name off the top of my head). If you click the link for the print view, it gives the time for each segement. The swim is listed as 29 days. A note for those interested, that works out to swimming at a pace faster than the men’s world record for the 100m freestyle…for the entire 29 days!

  9. Going from Prudhoe Bay, AK to Novokuzneck, Russia is 12,618 miles

  10. here’s another one
    1. Go to google.com.
    2. Click on More, then Maps
    3. Click on Get Directions.
    4. From: New York , New York .
    5. To: Paris , France .
    6. Then, read line #23.

  11. Northern virginia to germany works. “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi”

  12. I got the same results with El Paso, TX to Madrid, Spain.

  13. London UK to Topeka Kansas USA.
    Google Earth told me to go across to France and swim across the Altantic ocean but I need to drive at the other end down some highways, I guess I will need to drag my car behind me when I swim.
    I am curious why it doesn’t direct you to the nearest airport and says “Get on a plane” or to a dock and says “Get on a ship” instead of telling me to fricken swim for 30 days.

  14. Northern virginia to germany works. “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean 3,462 mi”

  15. It doesn’t work any more! Did they remove it?

  16. Found your blog by accident after a similar search.. from Oklahoma City, OK to Brazil and was instructed to “Swim across the Atlantic Ocean”

  17. Google fixed says:

    Argh! It doesn’t work now! I think they fixed it :( it was funny while it lasted. the kml file doesnt work anyways…

  18. Type “Prudhoe Bay” to “Rio Grande, Brazil”
    “65. Swim across the Atlantic Ocean
    Entering Brazil
    9,207 km”
    “Drive:
    19,731 km – about 53 days 3 hours”
    Atleast they give a realistic swimming speed :P

  19. Congratulations, well done!

  20. When it was possible to swim from North America to Eurasia, the farthest I could do was Borzya, Chita Oblast, Russia to Overland Drive, Unalaska, AK, USA. Now I can do Overland Drive, Unalaska, AK to the northernmost gap in BR163 in Brazil (you have to combine the URL, naturally) http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=from:+72855+to:+72804&sll=5.88289,
    -62.85841&sspn=75.413692,164.355469&ie=UTF8&z=3&om=1

  21. anonymous says:

    You can still swim to Brazil, apparently.

  22. it doesn’t work anymore! none of them :( and JUST when i was trying to show off my hidden knowledge to people. any idea why? maybe the google people caught the mistake.

  23. roflmao, Google is funny!

  24. anonymous says:

    Maybe someone tried to follow the directions literally and his estate is suing Google :-)

  25. Awww I think they did remove it because I couldn’t get it to pull up any of the locations. It was so funny while it lasted. I can’t believe it said ‘swim’ and doesn’t suggest you go the nearest airport or anything…

  26. it kinda works when you try going to australia from the us it tells you to go to washington then kayak to hawaii then to kayak to japan then kayak again to australia lmao kayak across the pacific thats as bad as swimming!

  27. Michael Strautz says:
  28. I followed the Google directions from Boston to London and didn’t even come close to getting hit by a car.

  29. We tried to use Google Maps to trace directions around the Gulf Islands of Victoria, BC, with hilarious results. Then again, Street View was only recently activated for Victoria.

  30. China to Japan, “Jet Ski across Pacific Ocean”.
    Louisiana to Japan, drive up to Washington, “Kayak across Pacific Ocean” to Hawaii then from Hawaii, “Kayak across Pacific Ocean” to Japan.

  31. Japan – USA
    numbers 27 and 38
    Japan – China
    number 43

  32. China to Japan has “jet ski across the pacific ocean” :-D

  33. sayantani says:

    Well guys, try China to Taiwan, (this one has Swim through Pacific Ocean) and then for further fun, try China to Sydney (for a combination of Jet Ski AND Kayak). LMAO!!!!

  34. japan to china… It tells you to jet sky

  35. Google did not provide the ferry route from Dover to Dunkerque such as ferries(promy) to France on the Google Maps.

  36. So is Shanghai to Taipei. You need to swim across Pacific Ocean.

  37. Mh, maybe, Google changed or deleted most of the funny ones or you can only see them within the US. With a german IP adress, almost none of these routes work out.
    Almost everytime Google Maps says something like: We could not calculate directions between New York, NY and Paris, France.
    It´s a pity.
    So, the only way open to me is to laugh about the available screenshots.

  38. Lol! I love it! It’s simple! Just swim all that way. I wonder if there’s many more of these little gems in Google Earth?
    Sam

  39. Doing Taiwan to Darwin Australia has Swim, Jet-Ski and Kayak

  40. lol, try Toronto, ON to Tokyo, Japan, It says to Kayak across the Pacific Ocean, that’s how I found out about this stuff in the first place! It’s actually really funny, I love google!

  41. Bruce Dunn says:

    China to Taiwan says swim across the Pacific

  42. From Shenzhen, China to New York, USA.
    -Drive to Shanghai.
    -Jet ski to Shimo-Koshiki Island of Japan.
    -Drive across the island.
    -Take a regular ferry to Ichikikushikino on Kyushu. It’s been nice not to tell you to jet ski all the way to Kyushu.
    -Drive to Tsuchiura near Tokyo.
    -Kayak down Japanese rivers and across the Pacific to Hawaii, drive a bit and kayak again.
    -Land at Seattle and drive for the rest.
    With all that said, it can’t calculate the route from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, which are only minutes away from each other.
    What amazes and amuses me is that the places where Google suggests you to enter and leave the ocean are actual ports/resorts/beaches where you can find a ferry/jet ski/kayak, and not just a random spot on the shore. I can really see some kayaks on the two Hawaiian beaches, waiting for someone to ride them across the Pacific. I think the resorts can’t help you with immigration and customs though. Those instructions may be useful for 007 I guess?

  43. Xanderphillips says:

    Looks like some of the routes are gone but some still work. China to NY still works for example.

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