Shvartzberry sent us a link to an interesting article on Google’s Official Mobile blog about how Google is using the My Location information to aggregate traffic information. Google has been using information it collects from Google Maps users to power their traffic layer which now covers all U.S. highways and arterials where they have data.
Google combines the data they get about your speed and the speed of other phones on the road to get an idea of how traffic is flowing. They combine this data from other phones to get a better idea of traffic conditions. Pretty cool!
This is scary from a privacy standpoint but Google has made every effort to anonymize the data by deleting start and end points. I am still kind of wary about any data aggregation of my location but I guess I can see the benefit. Especially considering the fact that cell carriers already have the ability to do this on their own. I think RIM has the same idea after they purchased Dash which also used their GPS devices internet connection to share live traffic information.
The only downside I have with this is that I almost never use Google Maps while driving. I tried it once in Washington DC and found it almost impossible to hit the next and previous buttons while driving and reading the small screen. The lack of voice prompts and auto routing to the next point make it subpar to even my $100 Mio c310x. I wish Google would finally release their own GPS app with voice prompts and an actual cockpit view.