Google tries new approach with real time traffic estimates for Google Maps

Apr 02, 2012 by Bob Yirka report

(PhysOrg.com) -- It used to be when using Google Maps to plan your route, i.e. driving from one destination to another, Google Maps would also try to give you an estimate for how long it would really take you to make that trip using historical data trends it had built up over time. The problem was, real world travel times often varied greatly from the historical data, leaving drivers frustrated with the results. Because of that, Google finally pulled the plug on the feature altogether last summer. Now, it appears Google is ready to try again, though this time it’s taking a much different approach, using data generated in real time via third party reports and data it obtains via drivers who have phones running Android and who also choose to opt in to Google’s "My Location” feature by enabling it voluntarily on their phones.

One of the nice features of Maps’ new real-time traffic monitoring is that users don’t have to go looking for it, the numbers show up automatically. Thus to use it, all a user does is click on the same links they always have, type in both departure and arrival destinations and Google will give both the average driving time in ideal conditions (in good weather with no other cars on the road) and what it believes to be the driving time based on current conditions. Obviously, there are some caveats. One is that in order for the whole thing to work, drivers must live in an area that Google has included, namely a major city. The other is that an awful lot of Android users must choose to opt in.

For Google to make this announcement now, they must be confident that enough users are now already choosing to enable the “My Location” option. As for living in one of the cities that Google has included, it appears most of the larger ones in the United States are currently included as are several in Europe, most notably Great Britain. Google says it’s adding more as time passes, which carries a lot of weight coming from the company that has spent a veritable fortune building up images around the world for no better reason than to post them to its Street View feature.

Because it’s based on real live user data, it’s likely Google’s new driving time estimates will be more accurate than in the past, and for the same reason, it’s likely those estimates will get better over time as more data points become available from Android users, which should hopefully outweigh any objections some might have over Google even having “My Location” as a feature on their phone which allows to not only collect GPS data on , but to save that data and use it for other purposes.

Explore further: LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

More information: Google's blog: google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/03/find-out-your-trip-duration-based-on.html

Related Stories

LG to introduce Google TV at CES 2012

Jan 06, 2012

LG Electronics will introduce its highly anticipated Google TV at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. LG Smart TV with Google TV combines the familiarity of Google’s Android OS with ...

Google Maps tracking traffic flow

Aug 26, 2009

Google has invited US motorists to share their progress -- or lack thereof -- with other drivers through the Internet giant's online mapping service linked to smart phones.

Senate panel grills Apple, Google on location data

May 10, 2011

(AP) -- A Senate panel is questioning executives from Apple and Google about why iPhones and handheld wireless devices running Google's Android software store location data that can be used to track where their owners have ...

Recommended for you

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

Apr 18, 2014

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

Apr 18, 2014

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

White House updating online privacy policy

Apr 18, 2014

A new Obama administration privacy policy out Friday explains how the government will gather the user data of online visitors to WhiteHouse.gov, mobile apps and social media sites. It also clarifies that ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

A homemade solar lamp for developing countries

(Phys.org) —The solar lamp developed by the start-up LEDsafari is a more effective, safer, and less expensive form of illumination than the traditional oil lamp currently used by more than one billion people ...

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...