Last summer, Google Maps nixed the estimated arrival time when searching for directions. The reason for the removal was due to the fallibility of historic traffic data, which would occasionally result in erroneous estimates and generally lacked the level of accuracy Google was after. That all changes this week with the addition of both live traffic and the incorporation of more refined historical data, along with the inclusion of traffic on surface streets – not just freeways – into Maps.
The new and improved traffic data and drive time estimates are only available in select cities for the time being (New York, San Francisco and London, among others), and users can get tabs on local congestion by selecting the Traffic option in the upper right-hand menu and then selecting either “Live traffic” or “Traffic at day and time” in the bottom left-hand corner.
Drive times are now displayed in line with the turn-by-turn directions, allowing you to choose between taking your car, public transportation or walking, depending on the conditions.
Google is pulling traffic data from the traditional sources (everything from cameras to news helicopters), but the really real-time data is coming from Android users who’ve switched on the My Location feature in the Google Maps app. Mildly creepy, but it’s for a good cause…
Via Wired Autopia: http://www.wired.com/autopia/