Why This Important Google Maps Feature Is Disabled for Now in Ukraine

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Google is disabling an important Maps feature to help Ukrainians in their conflict with the Russians. Knowing when and where there’s a crowd might be very useful in times of peace but can become an unfair advantage during fights.
Google Maps has become a somewhat important part of our lives. Unlike Waze, this service provides users with a number of useful functions. One of them is the live traffic data shown for different locations. This can be very helpful for those that are trying to avoid crowded places or are trying to find hours when queues aren’t forming. But this is something that can be safely used only when there’s no armed threat around.

As Reuters confirmed, Google has disabled the live traffic data for its Google Maps service. The measure is only temporary and will be brought back when Russia and Ukraine regain their peaceful status. A company representative said this was done “for the safety of local communities.”

Curiously enough, drivers will still be able to take advantage of it. The company said it will allow the turn-by-turn navigation to still show where the road might be congested. Which, again, is a smart move for helping civilians navigate their own way to safety.

The American tech giant has been in contact with authorities and has tried to be of use as much as it can. This is one of the ideas put into practice. Google’s parent company Alphabet also followed in the footsteps of Facebook and cut Russian media from monetizing their content.

Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine is still ongoing, so Google Maps might keep this live traffic feature in the box for a while.

This decision came rapidly after a professor said he was able to track Russian troops' movement using Google Maps. What was looking like rush hour traffic was actually an entire battalion. Military personnel forgot to deactivate their location.

Google Maps is used by over five million websites worldwide, and the service is being used on a monthly basis by a minimum of 154 million users. The live traffic function is based on anonymous data. Google doesn’t know who you are when you’re on the move; it just analyzes how many users are in one place at any given time.
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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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