3518 Plainfield Ave NE: Where Google Maps Gets It Wrong (Again)

If you’re in the mood for some kind of urban treasure hunt, Google Maps isn’t always the best guide. Anyone who’s driven around a city for a while has likely found themselves confused, frustrated, or stuck in a never-ending loop thanks to Google’s failings. But few people have experienced the daring adventure that is 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE in Grand Rapids, MI. Because as it turns out, this little slice of eastern Michigan is the kind of place Google just can’t handle.

H2: Setting the Stage for a Wild Ride

3518 Plainfield Ave. NE is a typical home in the middle of a quiet Grand Rapids suburb, but for a while, Google Maps labelled it as something much more interesting: A hair salon. And, although amusing, this error comes with its fair share of problems. Imagine trying to find your way to your hair appointment at a non-existent hair salon. Spoiler alert: it’s not an easy feat.

H2: Look at That Pin Placement

Google Maps is a handy tool when you’re trying to find a quick route around town, but it depends on the location information provided by its users, and sometimes that information is, ahem, less than helpful. Grand Rapids residents know, for example, that there is no hair salon at 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE, but Google Maps stubbornly placed a salon pin on the house anyway, leading drivers who trust the app’s directions down a wild goose chase, where no one really knows where they’re going or why.

H2: How Did Google Maps Get it Wrong?

There are a few potential factors that could have led to Google Maps getting the location of 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE so very wrong:

  • User Error: Google Maps relies on user-generated content (UGC) to make location information as accurate as possible. If someone, somewhere, mistakenly tagged 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE as a salon, then that mistake would keep propagating through the app until it became an urban legend – despite the best efforts of local residents.

  • Technical Issues: As with any app, technical glitches are bound to happen. It’s entirely possible that a technical issue caused the pin placement error, resulting in a tiny mistake that snowballed into a major headache for anyone trying to go home.

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Regardless of why or how Google Maps placed a hair salon pin on a residential house, the fact remains that it was an error, and one that has caused plenty of confusion for locals and visitors alike.

H2: The Folly of Trusting Google Maps

While it’s easy to blame Google Maps for any confusion that results from their imperfect location data, the truth is that sometimes, mistakes like the one at 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE can be a reminder that we should never fully trust an app to guide us through life.

As a wise man once said: “The journey is the destination.” When you’re behind the wheel, sometimes the scenic route is more important than the fastest or most direct route, especially when that fast and direct route takes you to a hair salon that doesn’t actually exist.

H2: The Importance of Independent Thought

So, what lesson can we learn from 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE and Google Maps’ hilarious blunder? Simply put, we should trust our own instincts and look at our surroundings, not just our phones. The best way to avoid ending up in a hair salon that isn’t actually a hair salon is to be open to the possibility that Google Maps might not always be correct. It’s a hard lesson to learn, but one that could end up saving you from major headaches in the long run.

H2: What Other Navigation Tools Are Out There?

If you’re not feeling up to the challenge of navigating Grand Rapids using only your own intuition, don’t worry – there are plenty of other navigation tools out there that can help you get from point A to point B:

  1. Waze: Waze is a GPS navigation app that uses real-time information from its users to provide updated driving directions. It’s especially useful for avoiding traffic jams and detours, and it’s generally reliable.

  2. Apple Maps: Apple Maps is the built-in navigation tool for iPhones that uses its own proprietary map data. It’s not as popular as Google Maps, but it’s worth considering if you’re looking for an alternative.

  3. MapQuest: Remember MapQuest? The classic mapping and directions website is still around, and it’s still a solid option if you’re looking for a reliable way to navigate Grand Rapids.

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Note: Keep in mind that none of these apps are perfect, and they all have their own issues and shortcomings. But, by using a variety of navigation tools, you can mitigate the risk of getting lost in eastern Michigan.

H2: A Final Word

When it comes down to it, the error on Google Maps that led to a hair salon pin being placed on 3518 Plainfield Ave. NE is a harmless mistake that makes for a funny story. But it’s also indicative of a larger problem – the blind trust we often place in technology to guide us through life. By using a variety of tools and approaching navigation with a more critical eye, we can avoid getting stuck in a never-ending loop of misdirection and confusion.

So, the next time you find yourself aimlessly driving around Grand Rapids, remember to keep your eyes open, stay alert, and maybe, just maybe, consider asking for directions – preferably from someone who knows where they’re going.

Table: Mapping Tools Comparison

Mapping Tool Pros Cons
Google Maps Most widely used navigation tool Less reliable in rural areas
Waze Real-time updates from users Can be distracting
Apple Maps Builds off of proprietary data Limited to iOS devices
MapQuest Classic option Outdated interface


  • “Why Google Maps Gets It Wrong in Some Parts of the World.” BBC, BBC, 1 Aug. 2019, https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-49105890.
  • “The Best Alternative Mapping Apps for Your Phone.” Popular Science, Popular Science, 28 Oct. 2019, https://www.popsci.com/story/technology/best-mapping-apps/.