Google Maps – Now Get Real Time Traffic Updates on Google Maps

By Yashwant
Mar 31st, 2012
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Real Time Traffic Updates on Google Maps

Real Time Traffic Updates on Google Maps

Do you travel a lot? Do you enjoy exploring new places and cities? Then you must be a fan of Google Maps. Even if you are not travelling in any other city chances are there that you would be using Google Maps to find directions in your own city. I do it on a regular basis and I am extremely happy with my experience with Google Maps. As an obsessed Google fan I always look forward that all my favourite services will come up with something new and Google never disappoints. Google Maps is not an exception. It has been showing directions to us for a long time but now it will also tell us real time traffic conditions on any specific route.

Sounds like a joke? Well, when it’s Google anything is possible. Check this live example. You can expect updates and improvements in even those services which are already doing great. Google Maps has been a hit among all especially with those who have a GPS device. You can find the directions from anywhere to anywhere. Until now we were happy to choose the shortest paths as it only provided us distance. Now with real time updates by android users about their location, Google is also showing traffic status so that you can choose whether a shorter path will actually take less time or more. I really get annoyed by traffic jams and I will prefer a less crowded long path then a short path with heavy traffic. 
Comparing Driving Time vs. Transit Time

Comparing Driving Time vs. Transit Time

Something similar was offered earlier by Google but that was scrapped. As reported by Mashable 

“The previous traffic feature that was removed from Google Maps last summer provided users with the worst-case traffic scenario based on historic traffic data — e.g. ‘up to 50 minutes in traffic.’” a Google spokesperson told Mashable. “That feature was removed because we wanted to improve the freshness of the data. The feature that we’re introducing on Google Maps today works differently and serves a different purpose. The new time-in-traffic feature provides users with the ability to check current traffic conditions and estimates the length of travel time based on constantly refreshed data.” 

So How Google is going to get this data in real time? 
All android users have an option of selecting “My Location” on their devices when they use any Maps Applications on their devices. They are free to choose whether they want to disclose their location or not. Most of the users don’t have any issues with disclosing their location. This data is collected anonymously and analysis is shared with other android users. Depending upon number of users in one particular area traffic conditions is predicted.

There seems to be some flaws in this approach. Suppose you are sitting in a coffee shop which is quite famous and which is on main road. You are enjoying your coffee and playing with your Smartphone. Your GPS is on and your location is recorded. Well, there could be many more people sitting in the same coffee shop with their GPS on. They are not driving and the road on which Coffee Shop is situated might be empty. Still the current approach of maps might show a heavy traffic on the road. It’s just a possibility and this idea is still in its early stage. I am pretty sure that Google will keep on improving this idea and remove any possible flaws.

Our Indian readers will be a bit disappointed to know that this feature is not yet available in India. It’s still in trial phase and has been launched only in few US cities. Don’t get upset, once this experiment is successful, we will see this coming to India very soon. Stay tuned for further updates.

About the Author

- An avid reader and a big time comics fan. A software engineer by profession who loves writing code and make things work.

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