By Joe Levi | March 7, 2011 1:57 PM
Google just released an update to the Navigation portion of Google Maps Navigation, bringing the app to version 5.2.1.
Previous versions of the app would tell you when your route had either moderate or heavy traffic and, if you knew how to use the feature, you could pick a different route to avoid the delays. This version of the app now does that for you, automatically, with no user-interaction required.
Navigation users drive more than 35 million miles every day, passively reporting their speed as they do. This information is then available to everyone else, and can help save gasoline and time. Additionally, it indirectly helps balance traffic load across roads, similar to how routers on the Internet dynamically route packets around areas of congestion, making the whole system run faster and more efficiently.
Google Maps Software Engineer Roy Williams saw this benefit first-hand: “On a recent trip to New York, I was running late to meet some friends at the Queens Museum of Art. I had no idea that there was a traffic jam along the route I would normally have taken. Thankfully, Navigation routed me around traffic. I didn’t even have to know that there was a traffic jam on I-495, and I got to enjoy a much faster trip on I-278 instead.”
It looks like Google Maps Navigation is trying to unseat Waze with its recent changes taking advantage of the “social” aspects of driving. All we need now is for end-users to be able to report speed traps, traffic cameras, road construction, and other hazards.
Real-time traffic data is available North America and Europe, so Android users in those areas can start taking advantage of this new feature today!
Source: Google Mobile Blog