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The Real Reason Why Google Maps Is so Good at Predicting Traffic

Google Maps’ traffic alert feature has become something that many people know of and rely on in order to plan their routes better and never be late for important meetings or the likes of that ever again. But did you ever stop to wonder how Google collects traffic information in order to deliver hourly updates to your phone or tablet? The answer might scare you out a bit, even though you most likely know that big tech companies collect your location data through your devices.

Collecting Location Data from Devices Connected to the App

The main way in which Google Maps is able to hash out a rough image of how traffic in certain areas looks like is by collection location information from phones and/or tablets that have the Google Maps app on them. Even though the app isn’t turned on per se, it still runs in the background and updates your current location constantly.

The Maps app sends anonymous information on how many cars are on the road at any given moment, as well as details on the speed these cars are moving along at. In this way, Google Maps is able to determine whether traffic in a certain area is heavy, moderate or light, and if it’s normal or not for that certain time of day in that certain area. This is why those notifications are almost always so accurate.

Collecting Data from Waze

You might also know that Google acquired the Israeli navigation app Waze in 2013 for the whopping price of one billion dollars. Well, Maps also displays live traffic updates that are taken directly from Waze. Waze is a good source for such information because it functions around the principle of letting actual drivers report on the status of the traffic in their area.

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