Monday, February 03, 2020

This Google Maps Hack Will Change Your Life

If you've ever used Google Maps in your car then you will know that the current level of traffic is shown on Google Maps with green, yellow and red colored roads. But have you ever wondered how Google knows how much traffic is currently on those roads?

One way that Google determines the level of traffic (which it then feeds back into its suggested route recommendations) is by historical traffic patterns - by how much traffic is usually seen on a road at different times of the day. However Google also uses real-time data from Google Maps users. When people carry mobile phones in their cars Google is able to capture data not only on their location but on how fast they are traveling as well. Using this data Google is able to map in real-time the amount of traffic currently moving on different roads.

This means that if you are clever enough you can hack Google Maps traffic data. Simon Weckert is clever enough. Simon Weckert is a Berlin based artist who realized that you could hack Google Maps real-time traffic data by simulating the amount and speed of traffic currently traveling on a road.

Here's how ...

In Google Maps Hacks Simon placed 99 second hand smartphones in a handcart and then walked around a number of empty Berlin streets. The data from 99 phones slowly moving around Berlin was enough to generate a virtual traffic jam in Google Maps. By walking around the city with 99 phones Simon was able to turn green streets red on Google Maps. This in turn had an impact on Google's suggested driving directions as it began routing real cars away from the empty streets that Simon had fooled Google into thinking were currently jammed with 99 slow moving cars.

So if you are tired of Google routing cars away from busy roads during rush hour and along your residential street instead you now know how to trick Google Maps into sending all that traffic elsewhere.

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