BringGo Review: right idea, worst possible implementation

By on June 29, 2015 - Geekery

I’ve been driving an EV car all week. Fun! Now I don’t tend think much of stock car stereos. Often when I bought a new car, replacing the stock radio was something I did on the way home before the car even got to my house. But I was, frankly, blown away with how good the stereo in the Chevy Spark EV was. HD FM radio? Check. Tightly integrated Sirius radio? Check. Bluetooth audio streaming? Check. Best display for interacting with my iPod I’ve ever seen. How, like, I would keep this!

When Chevy told me that the navigation system in the car worked with an app on my phone, I was very excited. “Someone finally got the right idea!” No more horrible built in Navigation. No more multi-hundred dollar map updates. I was so happy, I had such high hopes. I immediately downloaded the BringGo application and…

Foreshadowing: This review is very sad.

Cost Model: The one and only positive think to say about this app is that the cost model is good. It’s 99 cents for a 30-day demo, but only $50 to purchase lifetime support and map updates. If you’ve ever paid for another navigation system, you’ll understand how cheap this is. Sadly, price is the only thing going for it.

Unintuitive: Completely. I’ve test this on several people, and nobody can figure out how to use this on their own. I’ve used navigation systems in a language I don’t speak, and they were easier to understand than this app. It was completely hopeless trying to figure out how to use it in the car. I ended up sitting in my garage for two hours to figure out the most basic stuff.

Crashing: More than half the menu choices cause instant crash on Nexus 6. Menu -> Home Setting *CRASH* Menu -> Office Setting *CRASH* Add Favorites -> Address *CRASH* More than half of the menu items cause the app to crash instantly. The one sentence that is brazen into my mind is:

Unfortunately, BringGo has stopped.

Note that I’m using the Nexus 6, one of the most popular Android phones on the market. Why hasn’t this been tested and fixed in the entire YEAR this phone has been out?

Maps: The maps are almost 2 years old. They are completely wrong for every highway entrance within a few miles of my house. (which were changed over a year ago) For my needs, app is nearly useless as it stands.

Navigation: there’s no street names. I’ve downloaded the Western US maps, and confirmed they are on the phone. You can find an address, but it doesn’t show me any street names in the routing. The voice navigation tells me to turn left or right but without street names it can be chancy.

Broken UI: It does display on the Chevy Spark screen (yay!) but if I try to Navigate to a place and select to enter the address, all keys are greyed out and unresponsive on the screen. Multiple attempts, multiple reboots, reinstalling everything… nada. It doesn’t work. The only way to enter a navigation address is by selecting a one-line input method, which is handy but very demanding that you enter the input exactly so (which is undocumented, so lots and lots of trial and error are required)

Disables Phone Screen: When it hooks up to display on the car’s 7-inch screen, the phone screen is disabled. It would be nice if a copilot could enter an address on the phone while I’m driving or vice versa. The phone screen is much more useful for this than the car’s vaguely-touch screen.

No traffic: It has options to display traffic on the screen. The website shows red, yellow, and green lines on a map– but this didn’t work. It has an option to route around bad traffic, but it routinely tries to route me onto highways that are completely stopped. In short, the traffic doesn’t work at all.

Bad routing: I took it to work. It gave me three routes, and I selected the route which didn’t use the highway as it is always fastest at that hour in the morning. No matter that I had selected a route with no highway usage, no matter that I kept driving forward on the selected route, it kept desperately trying to route me onto that highway. Every road I passed that would take me to the highway it tried to route me down. No matter that traffic on that highway was completely stopped (and is walking speed slow at best every morning). And when I say desperately, I mean desperately. At one point I had passed the last possible route to the highway, and it kept trying to get me to turn around. In fact, it was still trying to get me to turn around and go three miles back to the highway entrance when I was across the street and STARING AT MY DESTINATION. It did not give up on routing me back to the highway until I was IN THE SAME PARKING LOT as my office.

I have ridiculed many a navigation system for making bad choices, but this one has set a new low for it’s refusal to route the path selected, and persistent demand that I engage with a highway that was completely stopped.

So… I love the car. I love the radio. But the Chevy MyLink app for Navigation (BringGo) is the worst navigation system I have ever used by a large margin. It’s so bad that it would crowd all other navigation systems together at the top of a bell curve.