Travelling Sardinia with Google

Technology has come a huge way since I left the UK in May 2000 to go on what ended up a six year backpacking tour which changed me and my life forever.

When I left on that trip I had a selection of MiniDiscs a film camera and a webpage which I was going to try and write about my travelling. At that point my family really had no clue about the internet as it was at that point nerds only, the iPhone wasn’t a thing and when you left the UK other than a few travel sites and flight booking you were on your own..

Fast forward 16 years and a recent trip to Sardinia my love affair with technology and travel was condensed in to a single device which offered me the ability to (over)share my trip with photos, book a car, figure out where to go, what it would look like when we got there, provide music to listen to, a map to get there, information on where to eat, what to do and should we so wish where to stay..

Put simple while Facebook may still be the undisputed king of social connections, Google is the master of the real world.

Starting with said device the Samsung Galaxy S2 8.0 (snappy title) a wonderful 8" tablet which it turns out also takes great photos

Coupled with a UK sim from 3 which for £20 has given me unlimited data in San Francisco AND Sardinia this month we had the internet at our fingertips travelling the north east Olbia area of this great island.

Four services which really jumped out as being lifesavers on this trip were:

Google Maps, the driving directions on Maps were 95% wonderful and 5% WTF??? On every occasion Maps got us to within a km of our destination perfectly, it offered multiple routes and did a great job, however when trying to find some beaches north of Olbia a tank would have been better for the “roads” Maps wanted to take us down. After some serious researching we found most places however out of the city in a foreign country taking you down the wrong street could have serious repercussions.

Then there is a new product in the Google arsenal Allo, I wasn’t using this for the chat purpose though, seems the named in Google Assistant has an interesting feature, I can get Allo to recommend places to eat at 8pm every day in my current location.

This is amazing and worked perfectly, a bot is suggesting to me where to eat and it’s suggestions were spot on.. the same for what to see as well..

It was Google Translate which wowed me the most, the real-time Translate between English and Italian worked flawlessly and one more than one occasion the look of amazement on a waiter or a shop assistant was priceless. We were having conversations with people who don’t know each other’s languages in real-time using voice.. this is a huge social opener

The last huge time save for someone who has had cameras stolen, lost rolls of film while traveling was the knowledge that every photo I took was backed up into the cloud using Google Photos and I can view those photos on ANY device..

So while most of these features are old hat and have been around for ages what struck me most on this trip wasn’t so much the feature it was the seamless usability of the services. While previously services like these have been very hit and miss it seems this time round they did “just work”.

There was however a feature Facebook has that Google doesn’t and that’s the ultimate bragging toot, the perfect look what I am doing while you are shivering.. Facebook Live..

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