If you’re like us, you assumed that Google Maps was using some iteration of the cameras it uses for Google Earth to map traffic.
But that theory kind of flew out the window when you watched Season 4 of and realized it’s actually the Michael Bluths of the world who are doing that job, with car-mounted cameras.
Since 2011, the Federal Communications Commission has also required that phones come with GPS, so between the triangulation with cell towers and the GPS requirement, your phone is a marked man.
Luckily, we stand to gain from one of the manifestations of the information Google now collects, through mapping traffic.The earliest iterations of Google Maps had no traffic feature–it was simply focused on getting people from Point A to Point B.If a road is colored green, it means it’s moving along, but a yellow road suggests some traffic and a red road means even more congestion.It’s like Google has its own traffic helicopters traversing the roads at all times–except that they don’t.Eventually, it added the capability to show how intense traffic would slow a driver down, so users could see how long the same route would take “in heavy traffic.” This was based off of “historic data they could gather,” about what traffic was like on that particular route when it existed, says Mike Dobson, president of Telemapics, a company that tries to solve geographical problems.
But in March of last year, Google Maps became much more useful to drivers, because in addition to offering directions, they also started to offer real-time views of how congested the roads were.Without strings attached, the reason number one I’ve used Here Maps instead of others is its Offline App capabilities.Bear with me, I am not talking about a portion of a city or a limited squared area, I am talking about potentially the entire world offline!For traffic information, Guo says this type of visualization directly over a map will always be more influential than your average radio update.And eventually, the information could be much more useful.Now, this has stirred up some controversy about whether the process is an invasion of privacy.