Google Maps Updated with New Traffic Patterns Because Old Ones Are Useless Now

Google Maps doesn't always calculate the best route to a destination 1 photo
Photo: reddit user toob93
One of the reasons people turn to Google Maps is because of its highly accurate traffic data, and Google knows this very well.
This is one of the reasons the Mountain View-based search giant tries to keep the traffic information as up-to-date as possible, and in order to do this, the company obviously has to do a lot of work to build historical patterns that can help Google Maps determine the ETA to a specific destination.

But as everybody knows already, traffic patterns have changed a lot in the last six months, especially as the global health issue has triggered lockdowns in most countries across the globe.

And as a result, the Google Maps traffic information, as well as the estimates related to how crowded a specific location could be, would no longer make any sense when historical data is being used.

This is why the company had to build new more recent traffic patterns that could make more sense in the current conditions.

Parts of the world have reopened gradually, while others maintain restrictions. To account for this sudden change, we’ve recently updated our models to become more agile—automatically prioritizing historical traffic patterns from the last two to four weeks, and deprioritizing patterns from any time before that,” Johann Lau, Product Manager, Google Maps, explains.

The good news is that Google Maps is adapting pretty fast to these always-changing traffic patterns, so in theory, the information that it provides should be pretty accurate.

On the other hand, drivers looking for real-time traffic data can always switch to Waze, which on paper should be able to provide an even more precise ETA as it’s based on user reports for a specific region.

Waze, which itself is a company owned by Google, can help drivers reach a destination faster by calculating routes avoiding slowdowns reported by users, very often caused by traffic jams, accidents, construction zones, or speed traps.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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