How does Google Map know when there’s traffic?

Google Maps Header Image

 

Ever wanted to grab a cup of coffee at the other side of the city? Did you promise to reach there on time? It is now possible to stay punctual all the time with the help of Google Maps.

Reach out to your phone before heading towards your destination and check real time traffic conditions on that particular route on Google Maps. While using Google Maps you not only see the traffic conditions but also contribute to Google and help other people.

So, the basic question which arises is how does Google predict traffic?

Before I proceed, you can read about  6 hidden features and settings of Google Play Store.



HOW DOES GOOGLE know about TRAFFIC?

Until 2009, Google was dependent on road sensors for Traffic conditions. It contacted transport department, and private data providers to give traffic information which was not accurate enough.

In 2009, Google started using crowdsourcing to give data about accurate traffic conditions.

Another source of traffic data are users of Waze app, which Google acquired in 2013 for $1 Billion; Waze users feed information like accidents and traffic jams on their routes into the app, which Google can use to make your navigation experience more accurate.

If you use Google Maps for mobile with GPS enabled on your phone, that’s exactly what you can do. 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.

Google combine your speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, it can get a pretty good picture of live traffic conditions.

Google continuously combine this data and send it back to you for free in the Google Maps traffic layers.

What is Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing Technology is a process of getting the work, usually online, from a crowd of people. The idea is to process this work and outsource it again to the people.

A bit too much of technicality, right? Well, crowdsourcing is nothing but a process where a person or a group of people send their data to servers and the servers process this data to give back valuable information.

For Example Google Maps

Top Crowdsourcing Sites

How does Google Maps determine the fastest route to any place?

Google Maps is the fastest route finder which helps you to plan the fastest route.

First of all, you have to enter a Start point and an End point. Then, a request is made to Google Servers which further determines the variety of fastest routes or paths.

The Fastest route is based on many factors, depending upon the data in particular area.

These factors range from official and recommended speed limit of the roads, historical average speed data over a certain period, the actual travel time of the previous user and real time traffic analysis.

The ball is now in your court because Google shows 2-3 fastest routes by which you can reach the destination. Each route varies from each other in terms of traffic, distance and time. By default, it determines the route on the basis of time.

 

What are the colors of routes in Google maps?

According to traffic, Google gives 3 colors to the roads.

  • Blue: The blue color shows there are no traffic delays.
  • Orange: The orange color means there is a medium amount of traffic.
  • Red: The red color means there are traffic delays.

How do Google maps show ETA Estimated Time of Travel?

ETA

ETA Estimated Time of Travel is based on many factors, depending upon the data in particular area.

These factors range from official and recommended speed limit of the roads, historical average speed data over a certain period, the actual travel time of the previous user and real time traffic analysis.

These all factors sum up to drive out an estimated value which is what you call as ETA (Estimated Time of Arrival).

Does Google Maps save my location on their servers?

Google has stated that the speed and location information it collects to calculate traffic conditions are anonymous. Google also identifies the start and end points of every trip it monitors and permanently deletes that data so that information about where each user came from and went to remains private.

How can I stop sending my anonymous location data to Google?

Google takes the privacy concerns related to user location data seriously, and have worked hard to protect the privacy of users who share this data — but they still understand that not everybody will want to participate. If you’d like to stop your phone from sending anonymous location data back to Google, you can find opt-out instructions here.

References:

  1. NDTV
  2. Google
  3. Wikipedia



I am a Professional Blogger and an aspiring Computer Scientist. The motto of my life is to "Think, Blink and Light" i.e. think before you write something to teach others.

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