April 2024 - 1 week

Google Maps x Surprises

Imagine a Google Maps tourist mode where you can choose your interests, and as you navigate, it surprises you with unexpected gems along the way. Whether it's stumbling upon a hidden cafe, a beautiful viewpoint, or a historic landmark, this feature would add an element of spontaneity to your travels, making every journey an adventure.


Design Researcher, Product Designer


This is conceptual project.

Example 01: Durgam Cheruvu Bridge in Hyderabad through Car.

Google Maps identifies local spots and then prompts users if they would like to learn more about them.

Example 02: Time Square Installation by Max Neuhaus in New York City through Walking.

Google Maps identifies local spots and then prompts users if they would like to learn more about them.

Toursit Mode
This mode not only is keeping the explorer on their feet by engineering surprises but also helps in making a trip more memorable without causing predictability fatigue.

Through researching the science of surprises and personal anecdotes, Tourist Mode on google maps helps in 

  • Challenging predictability fatigue
  • Engineering serendipity or surprises
  • Improving exploration experience

Concept Roots

Read my original writing on Medium︎︎︎- Surprises are good for you and how google maps can help.

Excerpt Below.

Surprises and Toursim

Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to travel to several different countries. Navigating unfamiliar cities and neighborhoods can be challenging for a tourist, and I often rely on maps to find my way around. However, I also enjoy simply looking out the window and taking in the sights and sounds of a new place without constantly having to check my phone or map to figure out where I am and where I should be going next.

It would be great to have a way to explore new places without constantly switching between looking at a map and the world around me.

During one of my trips, I was driving in SFO, staring out the window at the endless stretches of highway, twisting and turning, going inside tunnels, and passing by greenery. The scenery started feeling predictable until the greenery disappeared, and the Golden Gate Bridge emerged gracefully. The red shone under the light, the water sparkled, and I felt a simple emotion, perhaps a forgotten emotion — the feeling of Surprise.

I loved the experience of serendipitously coming across the bridge. I didn’t expect to see it that day, but it felt like a scene in a movie where they would reveal the gorgeous landscape after climbing a strenuous mountain. The idea of being surprised comes from a state when your mind is not overcome and overfed with information. It must be a little calm to take in the grandeur and emotion of experiencing a surprise.


During my recent trip to Egypt, the grandeur and magnificence of all the buildings, structures, and history were magical. I was blown away by the royalty of it all. But every day, I saw the best of the best: the pyramids, temples, and shrines, and almost after eight days, my brain felt full. I wasn’t blown away; I was nearly expecting it. It felt similar to how my mind was being overstimulated with endless content from the media. It was tiring.


Luna, Tania, and LeeAnn Renninger. Surprise embrace the unpredictable and engineer the unexpected. New York: © 2015From SURPRISE by Tania Luna and LeeAnn Renninger, PhD. Summarized by arrangement with Perigee, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, 2015.