Next time you see traffic on Google Maps you may think twice before believing it. Someone managed to spoof Google Maps into believing the traffic was extremely backed up by putting 99 phones in a little red wagon and wheeling it through the streets of Berlin.
Simon Weckert put a video together titled “Google Maps Hacks” where he enabled the Maps’ navigation and walked down the street pulling a red wagon with 99 smartphones inside. Simon showed that while he was walking through the streets, the maps on the app turned red indicating heavy traffic in the area. The only difference is, the streets were dead empty with very little cars driving through them.
The test goes to show that Google Maps does indeed is a form of “crowd-sourcing” in order to detect whether or not there is traffic in the area. If there are a lot of phones along a stretch of road, the algorithms then use that as proof there is a traffic jam. It seems to be the most logical way to detect traffic but Google may soon need to find a way to bypass a wagon filled with smartphones.
The company reached out to 9to5Google who originally reported on the news saying that in normal use, Google does use a large number of devices running the app as “proof” of a traffic jam. They claim that people “rarely” take advantage of this by placing a load of smartphones into a wagon.
[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#FE3102″ class=”” size=”21″]Traffic data in Google Maps is refreshed continuously thanks to information from a variety of sources, including aggregated anonymized data from people who have location services turned on and contributions from the Google Maps community. We’ve launched the ability to distinguish between cars and motorcycles in several countries including India, Indonesia and Egypt, though we haven’t quite cracked travelling by wagon. We appreciate seeing creative uses of Google Maps like this as it helps us make maps work better over time[/perfectpullquote]
Take a look at the experiment by Simon Weckert down below;