Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Fröken Ur

Somewhere in Iowa

All through this trip, we have been navigating with the aid of Gigi. Gigi is the name we gave to the female voice of the Google Maps GPS app. We hear her so much that we had to go e her a name. We thought first of e name Google Girl, then simply G G, which became Gigi.

We have grown to have great respect for Gigi. Her knowledge, and skillful directions are amazingly accurate and up-to-date. We also retain healthy skepticism, because once in a while Gigi is very wrong. It is no different than navigating a boat. The chart plotter tells us where to go, but our eyes and common sense are the final arbiters.

But Gigi has an annoying voice. One can argue that a GPS should have an annoying voice to capture your attention. Still,we wish she had a more soothing voice. I want her to sound like Fröken Ur.

I'll have to explain. In 1973 we were living in Sweden. The only TV was Swedish TV1 and TV2, and the only radio was P1, P2, and P3. On all those broadcasts, at the top of every hour, Fröken Ur's voice would announce the time. (Fröken Ur translates to Miss Clock). At 2300 when TV ceased Fröken Ur would tell us "Good night. Sleep well." She had a wonderfully soothing voice.

Many years later I was in San Francisco on business eating in a restaurant when I heard that voice. I pivoted and asked the lady behind me, "Fröken Ur?" Yes indeed it was her. She had moved from Sweden 25 years before and she had recorded those voice clips in.the 1950s.

Anyhow, I wish Google would offer a Fröken Ur option for the map app.




  1. I heard of people who fell in love with Fröken Ur. Probably the only woman available ...

  2. Have you tried a different voice?

  3. Ours is called Gypsy. Because if you take out the Ys it says gps and because she sounds like Natalie Wood as Gypsy Rose Lee.


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