Google products such as Google Maps help millions manage their daily commute. But, how does the tech giant predict traffic on the streets?
The Camera asked Tech Specialist Dave Taylor about the system used to predict the traffic. Taylor started with the concept of the "wisdom of crowds" that is applicable to both individuals as well as devices. Google is a data-collection company and this is what helps it generate huge datasets to study and analyse information.
Google Maps keeps on tapping the mobile phones of millions of people who keep their location services "ON" while they are on roads without hampering the security and privacy of the users. This data tracks the average speed at which the sedans are moving to a particular location. For example, if at a specific location, the average speed of the moving vehicles is 55 mph and it suddenly slows down to 20 mph, Google Maps understands that it is a "yellow" signal at the region. On the other hand, if the speed of the sedans drops to 0 mph, it signifies the "red signal." This way, the traffic status is analyzed by the tech giant's maps feature.
There are more than 2 billion Android users in the United States. According to Taylor, almost 80 percent of them contribute to reporting the traffic data every minute as their location service is mostly switched on.
In fact, Google Maps "Waze" feature allows users to get updated about accidents, if any, in the area they are traveling. "It's not just what (traffic) is right now, but how do we expect it to change over the next hour or two," Google Maps' Product Manager Amanda Leicht, in conversation with Tech Insider, said.