Google Maps Adds a Feature Request

Well, I’m sure there were other compelling reasons too 🙂

Google today rolled out an update to Google Maps that adds crowd sourced traffic congestion data:

When you choose to enable Google Maps with My Location, your phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast you’re moving. When we combine your speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, we can get a pretty good picture of live traffic conditions.

Sound familiar ? 🙂 In April 2007, I wrote about “Why I love in-car GPS, and how it can be made better“:

What we need, in my opinion, is an opt-in, open standard for sharing in-car/traffic information that any device and any opted-in person can tap into…
And as GPS is incorporated more and more into our mobile phone devices, that should give us a huge installed user base of in-car and mobile devices sharing information about traffic and other conditions. That would be infinitely better than participating in the manufacturers small group of users, and would dramatically increase the chances of having tons of good data on the highway you were looking to avoid b/c of traffic

What’s also really interesting to watch for me is how companies like TomTom, who now have a compelling iPhone app, will deal with Google Maps. My hunch is that they’ll incorporate Google Maps and their own navtech/maps database into some kind of hybrid best of both worlds model. They’ve done a bit of integration already with their TomTom on Google Maps.

4 thoughts on “Google Maps Adds a Feature Request

  1. It doesnt work too well.

    I was in LA last week, and used my Google maps quite a bit. Travel said it would take 35 minutes to go the 1.8 miles from the Sheraton Universal to Disney’s Burbank tower. No traffic whatsoever and took a mere 5-10 point to point. I used it again heading down to Hollywood and Sunset Blvd, that time it wildly underestimated the time required to travel.

    Not sure of the snafu, even as I followed the prescribed course it suggested?

    But…..amazing option as they finesse the mechanics. Interesting to think of the add on for Google Maps (recommendations for restaurants, gas station locations, friends houses (if addresses in book), etc…

    • @jason —

      interesting. I’ve been finding the traffic estimates pretty accurate here in the bay area. I do wonder if they can distinguish cleanly between people walking, biking, and driving — especially in LA where traffic can be insane 🙂

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