Turn Left in Half a Mile, Mate

30 Jan

“People have an intimate relationship with GPS. They say, ‘You took me to my cousin’s wedding,”  said Karen Jacobsen in an interview with People magazine.

Who is Karen Jacobsen? She is a singer and songwriter, but most notably she is the voice of Australian Karen for the Garmin GPS navigational system.

Australian Karen is one of Garmin’s most popular voices, and after about 50 hours of recording syllables into a microphone in a studio, her voice gives directions to travelers worldwide.

image credits: driving by dreamstime.com

Having memories attached to the navigational system, and a face for it, has helped increased the system’s popularity. Letters directed to Jacobsen pour in, including praise for guiding a wonderful vacation and confessions to pretending to strangle her on a road trip.  

Couples who use the navigational system have thanked Jacobsen for keeping them together, claiming that instead of fighting over directions, they both listen to and express their frustrations toward Jacobsen.

Garmin has noted her popularity; she became the most downloaded voice for the system. The company has had her make appearances at publicity events.

Jacobsen hopes to start up a singing career, and Garmin hopes that people will continue to recognize her voice from the GPS in their sedans.


3 Responses to “Turn Left in Half a Mile, Mate”

  1. blorezca January 31, 2011 at 10:12 am #

    This is so interesting. I have a Garmin GPS system and I have NEVER thought about whose voice I was listening to or who was guiding me in time of need. I can’t even believe that someone would be so known for their voice on a GPS device. It almost sounds ridiculous to me. Regardless of the new information I just learned, it’s pretty fascinating to think about a GPS in the form of being more than just a digital device and more as ‘a friend’ on the road. Honestly, I thought it was a just a computer-activated voice on my GPS. The next time I use it, I’m sure I’ll remember this post and think twice.


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