Google Maps’ live traffic alerts are now available for users of the mobile app in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. Google announced the update yesterday 15th of April, and it means that Maps will give real-time traffic updates to drivers in congested cities like Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town when they put their apps in Navigation mode.
This new update makes a user get a spoken alert for upcoming traffic conditions that helps identify the quickest route after the user must have input his/her destination.
“While you’re on the road, Google Maps will give you a heads up if congestion lies ahead, and how long you’ll be stuck in a jam. You’ll also get the option to take alternate routes, including explanations for why one is recommended – whether it’s the fastest or just avoids traffic.” – according to their blogpost.
How does Google do it? The live updates leverage on technology from Waze, an Israeli company Google acquired for over $1 billion in 2013. In addition to all that traffic and accident data from Waze, Google receives anonymous bits of data from Android phones with location services turned on, and iPhones with the Google Maps app open. After analysing all this data, Google can tell how many cars/pedestrians are on the road, how fast they are going etc.
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